Endovascular treatment of intracranial aneurysms with complex morphologies such as giant, wide-necked, or fusiform aneurysms is challenging. Stent-assisted coiling and balloon-assisted coiling are alternative techniques to treat such complex aneurysms, but studies have shown less-than-expected efficacy, as suggested by their high rate of recanalization. The management of complex aneurysms via microsurgery or conventional neuroendovascular strategies has traditionally been poor. However, over the last few years, flow-diverting stents (FDS) have revolutionized the treatment of such aneurysms. FDS are implanted within the parent artery rather than the aneurysm sac. By modifying intra-aneurysmal and parent-vessel flow dynamics at the aneurysm/parent vessel interface, FDS trigger a cascade of gradual intra-aneurysmal thrombosis. As endothelialization of the FDS is complete, the parent vessel reconstructs while preserving the patency of normal perforators and side branch vessels. As with any intervention, the practice and application of flow-diversion technology is inherent, with risks that include vessel rupture or perforation, in-stent thrombosis, perforator occlusion, procedural and delayed hemorrhages, and perianeurysmal edema. Herein, we review the devices, their mechanisms of actions, clinical applications, complications, and ongoing studies.
Keywords: Cerebral aneurysm; Coil embolization; Endovascular; Flow diversion; Subarachnoid hemorrhage.