Medical treatment of polymeric cerebral granulomatous reactions following endovascular procedures

J Neurointerv Surg. 2021 Nov;13(11):1032-1036. doi: 10.1136/neurintsurg-2020-016806. Epub 2021 Mar 15.


Background: Endovascular procedures are standard of care for an increasing range of cerebrovascular diseases. Many endovascular devices contain plastic and are coated with a hydrophilic polymer which has been rarely described to embolize, resulting in distal granulomatous inflammatory lesions within the vascular territory.

Methods: We reviewed three cases of cerebral granulomatous reactions that occurred after endovascular intervention for internal carotid aneurysms. The patient procedure details, presentation, relevant investigations, and treatment course are described. We also provide a literature review on endovascular granulomatous reactions.

Results: These three cases represent the largest biopsy proven series of cerebral granulomatosis following endovascular intervention. We highlight the variable clinical presentation, with two of the three cases having an unusually delayed onset of up to 4 years following the intervention. We show the characteristic histological findings of granulomatous lesions with foreign body material consistent with a type IV reaction, radiological abnormalities of enhancing lesions within the vascular territory of the intervention, and the requirement of prolonged immunosuppression for maintenance of clinical remission, with two of the three patients requiring a corticosteroid sparing agent. In comparison with the available literature, in addition to hydrophilic gel polymer, we discuss that plastic from the lining of the envoy catheter may be a source of embolic material. We also discuss the recommendations of the Food and Drug Administration and the implementation of novel biomaterials for the prevention of these reactions in the future.

Conclusions: There is a need for increased awareness of this severe complication of cerebral endovascular procedures and further longitudinal studies of its prevalence, optimal management and preventative measures.

Keywords: aneurysm; device; embolic; inflammation; material.

MeSH terms

  • Aneurysm*
  • Carotid Artery Diseases*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders*
  • Endovascular Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm* / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Aneurysm* / surgery
  • Polymers / adverse effects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Polymers