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Brain Aneurysm Repair: Before Your Procedure

Before and after treatment of an aneurysm with coil

What is brain aneurysm repair?

A brain aneurysm is a bulging, weak part of a blood vessel. It can put pressure on nerves. And it can bleed or break open (rupture).

A brain aneurysm can be fixed with a procedure. This procedure can prevent strokes, bleeding, and brain damage.

The doctor makes a cut in your groin or wrist and inserts a small plastic tube (a catheter) through the cut. The doctor gently guides the catheter through the blood vessel to the brain aneurysm. Then the doctor uses a tool, such as a coil, to fill up or block the opening to the aneurysm. This prevents blood from getting into the aneurysm. Then the doctor removes the catheter.

You may get medicine so you will be asleep during the procedure. Or you may be awake, but you will not feel pain.

You will probably stay in the hospital for 1 or 2 days. You may be able to go back to work or your usual routine in 3 to 7 days. But it could take 1 month to fully recover.

How do you prepare for the procedure?

Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.

Preparing for the procedure

  • Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
  • Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your procedure. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the procedure and how soon to do it.
  • If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your procedure. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance care plan. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.

What happens on the day of the procedure?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your procedure may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of the procedure, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your procedure. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do not shave the incision site yourself.
  • Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.
  • The procedure usually takes about 2 hours.
  • After the procedure, pressure may be applied to the area where the catheter was put in your blood vessel. This will help prevent bleeding. A small device may also be used to close the blood vessel. The area may be covered with a bandage or a compression device.
  • Nurses will check your heart rate and blood pressure. The nurse will also check the catheter site for bleeding.
  • If the catheter was put in your groin, you will need to lie still and keep your leg straight for up to a few hours. The nurse may put a weighted bag on your leg to keep it still.
  • If the catheter was put in your wrist, you may be able to sit up. But you will need to keep your arm still for at least one hour.
  • You may have a bruise or a small lump where the catheter was put in your blood vessel. This is normal and will go away.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your procedure.
  • You become ill before the procedure (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the procedure.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.