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Brain Aneurysm Surgery (Clipping): Before Your Surgery

Before and after surgery to repair an aneurysm with a clip

What is brain aneurysm surgery?

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).

One way to fix a brain aneurysm is with a surgery called clipping. This surgery can prevent strokes, bleeding, and brain damage.

You'll get medicine so you'll be asleep during the surgery. Part of your head may be shaved. The doctor makes cuts through your skull. The doctor puts a clip over the aneurysm. This stops the blood flow. The cuts in your skull are then closed.

After the surgery, you may stay in the hospital for 3 to 10 days. You will probably feel very tired for several weeks. You may also have headaches or problems concentrating. To fully recover, it can take 4 to 8 weeks.

Most people need to take at least 4 weeks off from work. But it depends on your job. For example, if you operate machinery at work, you may not be able to do that for 3 months.

How do you prepare for surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • 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 surgery 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 surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery 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 surgery. 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 surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do not shave the surgical 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.
  • The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You will be asleep during the surgery.
  • The surgery usually takes 2 to 5 hours.

When should you call your doctor?

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

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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