Introduction: High-porosity (HP) and flow-diverting (FD) stents are increasingly used to treat intracranial aneurysms. In vivo device deformations and their impact on the porosity of the segment of device lying over the aneurysm neck remain inadequately characterized.
Methods: Porosities of different braided FDs were studied in straight and 90° curved glass tubes. In vivo, 11 experimental lateral wall aneurysms were treated with FD (n = 7) or HP (n = 4) stents. At 3 months, the segment of FDs and HP stents over the aneurysm neck was analyzed, paying attention to changes in device diameter, metallic porosity, and neointimal closure of pores over the aneurysm or branch ostia. Device deformations were reproduced with benchtop experiments.
Results: In 90° curved tubes, FD porosity was higher (P = 0.025) and pore density was lower (P = 0.01) on convex compared to concave surfaces, but variations remained within 5-10 %. After in vivo deployment, a spindle-shaped deformation of FDs occurred, with focal expansion at the level of the aneurysm neck (P = 0.004). This deformation translated into an accordion-like distribution of stent struts across the aneurysm neck, where porosity was not uniform. The midsection of the aneurysm ostium had more metal coverage than adjacent ostial areas (P = 0.002). Mean porosity over the aneurysm neck was 78 ± 9.4 and 32.6 ± 12.1 % for HP and FD stents, respectively (P = 0.008), decreasing to 13.0 ± 10.1 and 1.4 ± 0.6 % (P = 0.022) following neointimal coverage, respectively. Spindle-shaped deformations and accordion effects were reproduced with benchtop manipulations; fluctuations in porosity and diameter changes correlated closely (R = 0.81; P = 0.005).
Conclusion: Alterations in porosity may occur following in vivo implantation.