Incidental finding 5mm aneurysm

Last year my neurologist sent me for an MRA/MRV as I had been suffering from CDH for over 6 months. It came back with an incidental finding of an 5mm aneurysm and so my doctor sent me to a neurosurgeon for a consultation. At the time I was in pretty bad shape with severe daily headaches so he felt it was reasonable to wait 12 months and then have another CT angiogram. He did however feel it was necessary for me to have the aneursym clipped within the next 5 years due to it's shape, location and my age (44yrs).

It has been 12 months and I have just had another CT angiogram and thankfully the aneurysm hasn't grown. I got a second opinion this week from another neurosurgeon who seemed even more determined for me to have it clipped. My headaches are much better due to multiple medications but I am still hesitant to undergo a craniotomy. I have read so many statistics about people living there whole lives with small aneurysms that never cause them any trouble and quite honestly the risks of surgery are equal if not greater to the risk of such a small aneurysm rupturing. I am blessed with low blood pressure, I don't drink, don't smoke and exercise everyday, so at least that is in my favour. I am not saying that I won't have the surgery, but I am really worried about having a procedure that could potentially not end well when possibly I really didn't need to have it in the first place. Of course there is always the flipside, if the aneursym ruptures that could be devastating!

How does one decide what to do? Do we just listen to the experts and get the surgery?

Hi Wendy...Why have they not suggested "coiling" instead of "clipping"...??? That is my curious self wondering...truthfully...I think it is a decision you must make with your Doctors...I had no choice ... mine was 9mm sitting on my basilar tip...I had the worse headache of my life and found it was leaking...but hadn't ruptured...I didn't want to live with a "ticking time bomb"...I did have high blood pressure ... so that didn't help...really I understand what your saying, but it has to be a personal choice...does that make sense? Guess I wasn't much help...but saying a prayer that you will make a decision that is the right one for you...

Cyber~ prayers your way...Colleen

Wendy,

I am in the same boat. I have 5mm aneruysm on right internal carotid artery. Dr. said to watch and wait. Would coil if I wanted. Another dr. told me coiling was not for me because of wide neck of annie. I have been referred to Cleveland Clinic and haven't heard from them yet. I will be calling them on Monday. I have desided to have the surgery but not sure if I will coil or clip. This is a diffucult decision for anyone to make, you just have to be the one to deside and go for it. Easier said than done I know. Most people on here have told me if it were them they would have the surgery. I'll be praying for you.

Deanna

Hi Colleen, Unfortunately they cannot clip my aneurysm because of it's location. There is another branch of the blood vessel right next to it and therefore the risk of one of the coils flicking off and causing a stroke is too high.

I think that ultimately I will probably have to have the surgery in the next few months, but I am going to get a third opinion just for peace of mind. Did you get yours coiled or clipped? How are you doing now?

Thankyou so much for your prayers.

Best wishes

Wendy

Hi Deanna, Sorry to hear you are in the same boat. I am glad you have a choice of clipping or coiling, unfortunately I can only have mine clipped due to it's location. I too think I will most likely have the surgery as the uncertainty of living with an aneurysm is probably a bit too stessful. I have been unwell for almost two years with terrible headaches (unrelated to the aneurysm) so I think I will have my Hawaii holiday and then consider the surgery when I get back in September. Don't really want to go to Hawaii with a big bald patch!

Good luck with your appointment at the Cleveland Clinic, I hope they help to make the decision easier for you.

Best wishes

Wendy

Hi Becky, I am actually going to get a third opinion from another neurosurgeon in August. The last one I saw said that any neurosurgeon would recommend clipping because of it's shape, location and my age, so there is no harm in testing that theory.

The statistics that I was referring to was the rate of rupture of small aneurysms which is 0.05-1% and the risk or death or complications from surgery which is 1%. Certainly if your aneurysm ruptures it can be catastrophic, but so can any number of things that go wrong during surgery.

Now that I know I have an aneurysm I don't know that I will be able to "hope that nothing happens" for the rest of my life as I am still comparatively young. This incidental finding could be either a blessing or a curse, depending on how you look at it. It's nice to know I am not alone thanks to this support group.

Hi Wendy...If you are unsure or not feeling good about your two opinions...I am glad you are going and getting another...for me...I felt so good about what my Doc's had to say... You do what you need to do...to make this right for YOU...Attitude has so much to do in healing...We at BAF are all here for you Wendy...

Keep The Faith...Cyber ~ prayers your way....colleen