Continued growth of and increased symptoms from a thrombosed giant aneurysm of the vertebral artery after complete endovascular occlusion and trapping: the role of vasa vasorum. Case report

J Neurosurg. 2003 Feb;98(2):407-13. doi: 10.3171/jns.2003.98.2.0407.


A 58-year-old woman harboring a partially thrombosed giant aneurysm of the vertebral artery (VA) presented with lower cranial nerve palsies and cerebellar ataxia. The authors initially attempted to reduce the mass effect by obliterating the lumen of the aneurysm as well as by trapping of the parent artery with coils. Although there was no angiographically demonstrated evidence of filling, the aneurysm continued to enlarge. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a marked enhancement around the packed coils close to the neck of the aneurysm. Aneurysmectomy and removal of the coils were performed and resulted in an almost complete cure of the patient's symptoms. Interestingly, at the time of resection, a marked development of vasa vasorum on the occluded VA and the neck of the aneurysm was noted. When the occluded VA was cut, there was blood oozing through the coils packed within its lumen on the side where the aneurysm lay. Histological examination showed the presence of inflammatory cells and neovascularization of a partially organized thrombus around the packed coils in both the aneurysm and occluded VA. The proliferation of vasa vasorum was also recognized histologically. This unique case provides insight into the growth mechanisms of a partially thrombosed giant aneurysm after an apparently complete occlusion by endovascular treatment, especially the role of vaso vasorum on the occluded parent artery in the dynamic process of neovascularization in the incomplete organization of thrombus around the packed coils.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aneurysm / pathology
  • Aneurysm / physiopathology*
  • Aneurysm / therapy*
  • Angiography, Digital Subtraction
  • Embolization, Therapeutic*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Thrombosis / pathology
  • Thrombosis / physiopathology*
  • Thrombosis / therapy*
  • Treatment Failure
  • Vasa Vasorum / diagnostic imaging
  • Vasa Vasorum / pathology
  • Vasa Vasorum / physiopathology*
  • Vertebral Artery / pathology
  • Vertebral Artery / physiopathology*
  • Vertebral Artery / surgery*