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Research Shows New Surgical Technology May Help Reduce Brain Aneurysm Regrowth

CONTACT: Maria Enie or 202-248-5454

Research Shows New Surgical Technology May Help Reduce Brain Aneurysm Regrowth

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A new tool for treating brain aneurysms may protect artery blood flow during surgery and reduce the risk of aneurysm regrowth, according to a study presented today at the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery’s (SNIS) 18th Annual Meeting. Endovascular neurosurgeons treat some brain aneurysms by using a catheter to fill up the aneurysm with an embolic, such as a metal coil, which occludes it (or closes it off) to stop the aneurysm from leaking blood into the brain. This process often requires the use of surgical balloons, which block blood flow both to the aneurysm and to the nearby artery while endovascular neurosurgeons treat the aneurysm.

Major challenges for surgeons in this procedure include completing the surgery within a short time frame in an emergency and filling the aneurysm fully to minimize long-term aneurysm regrowth. In the study, “Prototyping a Balloon Stent for Minimally Invasive Temporary Aneurysm Occlusion and Embolization,” the authors discussed an alternate type of balloon — a balloon stent, or balloon with a central flow channel — that could sustain downstream arterial blood flow while surgeons more fully close off aneurysms, preventing aneurysms from regrowing and ultimately rupturing later.

The researchers used a bioengineering simulation process called computational fluid dynamics to find out if a balloon stent could keep a nearby artery from being totally blocked off during surgery. They then tested the balloon stent in the lab using a state-of-the-art 3D-printed model blood vessel and found that it maintained a safe fractional pressure ratio, a strong indicator of sustained downstream blood flow. The researchers are currently working on prototyping the balloon stent device.

“Every year, brain aneurysms kill 15,000 Americans and cause neurological damage to a further 9,000 more,” said Omid Asgari, a senior graduate research associate in the Bioengineering Devices Laboratory (BDL) at Northern Arizona University (NAU) and lead author on this study. “New technology like this balloon stent has the potential to retain brain function and save lives by allowing endovascular neurosurgeons more time to effectively assess and treat patients, keep patients off of blood thinners, and reduce the risk for brain aneurysm regrowth.”

To receive a copy of this abstract or to speak with the study authors, please contact Maria Enie at or 202-248-5454.

 About the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery

The Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery (SNIS) is a scientific and educational association dedicated to advancing the specialty of neurointerventional surgery through research, standard-setting, and education and advocacy to provide the highest quality of patient care in diagnosing and treating diseases of the brain, spine, head and neck. Visit and follow us on Twitter (@SNISinfo) and Facebook (@SNISOnline).