Microsurgical strategies following failed endovascular treatment with the pipeline embolization device: case of a giant posterior cerebral artery aneurysm

J Cerebrovasc Endovasc Neurosurg. 2014 Mar;16(1):26-31. doi: 10.7461/jcen.2014.16.1.26. Epub 2014 Mar 31.


Treatment of giant posterior circulation aneurysms, via endovascular or microsurgical approaches, carries a high risk of morbidity and mortality. While flow-diverting stents (FDSs) represent a potent therapy for endovascular reconstruction of complex aneurysms, they are also associated with novel complications for which effective salvage techniques are lacking. We present a unique complication from failed treatment with a FDS. A 51 year-old male presented with increasing headaches secondary to a giant, fusiform aneurysm of the left posterior cerebral artery, which was largely thrombosed. Due to progressive enlargement of the aneurysm corresponding to worsening clinical symptoms, the lesion was treated with two Pipeline embolization devices (ev3, Plymouth, MN, United States). Three months after Pipeline embolization device treatment, complete posterior cerebral artery occlusion was observed at the origin of the proximal stent. Despite the lack of arterial inflow, the aneurysm dome continued to grow, resulting in obstructive hydrocephalus. Therefore microsurgical intervention was undertaken to trap and excise the aneurysm. The patient's postoperative course was complicated by multiple venous infarcts, ultimately resulting in death. Successful microsurgical obliteration of aneurysms previously treated with FDSs is extremely difficult. A combination of judicious preoperative planning and meticulous intraoperative surgical technique are requisite for effective management of these complicated cases.

Keywords: Endovascular procedures; Intracranial aneurysm; Microsurgery; Pipeline embolization device; Stroke.

Publication types

  • Case Reports