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Brain Aneurysm Surgery (Clipping): Before Your Surgery

What is brain aneurysm surgery?

A brain aneurysm is a bulging, weak part of a blood vessel. It can put pressure on nerves, 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 will get medicine so you will be asleep during the surgery. To do the surgery, the doctor uses special tools to make cuts in your scalp and through the bone of your skull. These cuts are called incisions. The doctor then places a tiny metal clip over the weak part of the blood vessel. This stops the flow of blood. Next, the doctor uses small metal plates and clamps to put the piece of your skull back. Then the doctor closes the incisions with stitches or staples. The incisions leave scars that fade with time.

After the surgery, you will 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. If you operate machinery at work, you will not be able to do that for 3 months.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

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 aspirin or some other blood thinner, ask your doctor if you should stop taking it before your surgery. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do. These medicines increase the risk of bleeding.
  • 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.

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

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.

Going home

  • Be sure you have someone to drive you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine make it unsafe for you to drive.
  • You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your surgery. They will cover things like diet, wound care, follow-up care, driving, and getting back to your normal routine.

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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