Intracranial Aneurysm Presenting Robust Metal Artifact

World Neurosurg. 2020 Jun:138:120-124. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2020.02.104. Epub 2020 Feb 26.


Background: Intracranial aneurysm (IA) is a debilitating cerebrovascular degeneration. Current clinical diagnosis relies mainly on conventional angiogram except for some peculiar aneurysms. Nonetheless, there is no documentation of aneurysm showing robust intracranial artifact on computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging.

Case description: Herein, we report a 45-year-old female with an IA showing a robust intracranial metal artifact. During surgery, the culprit lesion for the artifact was discovered to be hard plaque on the ventral part of the aneurysm. Craniotomy clipping and vessel reconstruction were successful, but minor vasospasm was observed postoperatively. Postoperative pathology and optical emission spectrometer analyses showed elevated iron and copper level in the plaque on the IA. After comparing with other aneurysm samples, we believe the overenriched local iron deposition contributed to the metal artifact on imaging.

Conclusions: Taken together, accidental findings of intracranial metal artifacts on computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging can be indicative to iron deposition on intracranial aneurysm. Neuroimaging using magnetic field should be performed with caution. Local accumulation of lysed products from erythrocyte might contribute to the occurrence of this enriched iron deposition, but further evidence regarding the pathogenesis of copper deposition should be provided. Surgically, measures should be taken to avoid perioperative complications like vasospasm and delayed cerebral ischemia. Future report of similar cases would be helpful in optimizing the treatment modality for the aneurysm with metallic plaque.

Keywords: Copper deposition; Intracranial aneurysm; Intrauterine device; Iron deposition; Metal artifact.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts*
  • Computed Tomography Angiography
  • Copper / chemistry
  • Craniotomy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging*
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / surgery*
  • Iron / chemistry
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Metals
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Vasospasm, Intracranial / etiology
  • Vasospasm, Intracranial / therapy


  • Metals
  • Copper
  • Iron