Purpose: The endovascular surgical approach to complex disorders of the central nervous system has made rapid and significant advancements over the past decade. Patients with intracranial arterial aneurysms, traumatic carotid and vertebral artery lesions, including fistulas and pseudoaneurysms, hemodynamically significant atherosclerotic lesions, vasospasm, and acute stroke are now being approached and treated by newer and less invasive techniques, including cerebral angioplasty and thrombolytic therapy.
Methods: All procedures are usually performed from a transfemoral approach utilizing a variety of occlusion devices, including detachable silicone balloons, microcoils, electrolytic detachable coils, liquid tissue adhesives, and particulate emboli for vessel occlusion. For dilatation and reperfusion of vessels, balloon angioplasty catheters, stents, and thrombolytic drugs are being used.
Results: For the treatment of traumatic vascular injuries, such as carotid cavernous sinus fistulas and vertebral arteriovenous fistulas and pseudoaneurysms, endovascular therapy has become the treatment of choice. The endovascular approach for intracranial aneurysms is emerging as a therapeutic option in selected cases. For occlusive disorders in patients presenting with acute cerebral ischemia, extracranial angioplasty and cerebral thrombolysis techniques are currently under investigation.
Conclusions: As these techniques continue to evolve, the field of interventional neuroradiology will expand the therapeutic options for managing complex cerebrovascular disorders and improve patient outcome in acute stroke therapy.