New diagnosis

I was diagnosed with a 4mm aneurysm on my carotid artery last week. I saw a neurosurgeon this week who recommended I have the more invasive procedure of going through the skull and clipping off the aneurysm. He said due to the shape of the aneurysm and my young age (58) I was a good candidate for this procedure. He said this procedure was more permanent and less likely to have to be repeated. Of course I'm scared, but I don't feel like gambling with my life either. There is a family history too. I would really appreciate some feedback from those that have been there, done that. Are there side effects from this surgery and why not the coil???

Hi, Cari. I am sorry that you are now a member of our "family". Those of us, including myself, who are diagnosed before a rupture are very, very lucky, though.

I have the coiling and stent in October 2011, so I can't really alleviate fears on clipping. One thing I can say, however, is that prior to my angiogram when I knew that I had to have my annie fixed, I felt the say way. After being told that clipping was too dangerous (my annie is on the basilar tip), I felt relieved. That relief was short lived, however, when I researched and found that clipping is more permanent and that with coiling and the stent that I had would have to be watched closely the rest of my life (in other words, invasive regular tests). I also realize that there are 2 sides to the coin, so to say. I will have another angiogram next week (less than 4 months) as a followup to the clip and stent).

I am sure that others might tend to disagree with me, depending on their experiences, and know that you will be getting advice from those who have had clipping. There are pros and cons to both - though clipping is by far much more invasive and scary.

I think the most important decision you make is whether you feel comfortable and trust your doctor. Many people here get 2nd opinions through another doctor. Also, some here have gotten the newer technique that is the PED, but that also depends on if your annie is a candidate for that. Even though I felt very comfortable with my doctor, I did get a very favorable opinion on this site from another of his patients, which made me feel even better.

On the other hand, didn't it feel good to have your doctor say you have a young age (I was 56 and my doc said the same)? I just turned 57.

Good luck on your journey - know that we are all here for you.


Thanks for the information Jim. Any and everything is helpful to me at this time. I believe this doctor is qualified to do the coil surgery. I think it will be interesting to see what the second doctor recommends. How is the recovery for the coil procedure?


I'm happy to hear from someone who was diagnosed prior to a rupture. It did feel good to be told I was young enough for a change. LOL

How was the coil procedure, recovery process, etc? It sounds like they have to watch you very closely with that procedure, whereas the doctor said with clipping I would only have to be checked every 5 - 10 years. Thanks for your response and information. I feel a huge relief having people to talk to about this.

did your doctor mention a subtance called Onyx that may be able to be used ?

No he didn't???

Everyone reacts differently to both. I am having problems, however, most people who are coiled and stented do really well. There are a lot of people you will be hearing from - I think the most important thing to remember is what that the neuro's recommend what is best for your annie. Communication is key - my doctor was very precise with his answers when I was asking about both procedures. My location warrants closer follow up as he said that I had a 40% chance of another annie sprouting up in this area.

How was your annie detected originally? Mine was through an MRA done because they suspected a bruin in my neck and I have been having problems with an ear for some time. They only thing that was detected was the annie in a different location. And yes, we are the lucky ones to be able to fix ours before rupture. Mine also was fairly small, as yours is. Have you had an angiogram?

No angiogram. I had my left arm go limp last week, went into ER, they did 3 MRI's and 2 CT scans. That's how the aneurysm was found. I think it was very lucky.

It does sound like every person's situation is unique. It will be interesting to hear what the other doctor has to say.

Cari, I should have mentioned that I had pre-existing health problems before the annie was discovered, so those probably contribute.

That's good to know. I have high blood pressure but I believe that's the only one other than family history that would be related to the aneurysm.

I was also diagnosed pre-rupture, and my doctor does both coilings and clippings. He recommended coiling, and that's what we did. It's now been 15 mos. I had a follow-up angiogram (up the femoral artery) at the 6mos point, and it showed complete success, and he said less than 99.8% chance of ever needing any more done for that one (I have 2 smaller that have to be watched). That one is done with. My subsequent follow ups will only be MRA's (ie, not invasive). Some docs continue w angio follow-ups, but my doc goes w. MRA's, which I'm glad for. I had my first of those in Dec, it was only an 8 minute scan! And again, complete success, no worries, and come back in a year. At some point, if I only had that one coiled aneurysm rather than still having 2 others, the scans would get farther apart.

And do remember, as I think someone said, that people who are on this site tend to be more who've had complications - as the others don't often need the continued support (God Bless them!). A second opinion will be good. As scared as I would have been to have the clipping, if it was a clear recommendation from my doc, I would have at least considered it.

For many people the coiling is a very quick recovery - again tho, those of us here may be the ones w/ more problems. But it's certainly an easier recovery than clipping.

I hope that your recommendations feel right to you - you're going about this in the right ways~!

How small are the aneurysms they're watching. Mine seems so small, I'm just wondering if surgery is needed right away? However, I don't even want to take any chances and I don't want to be afraid to live life either.

Thanks for your response Jaycie. Each and every one is helpful.

My surgeon found one of my aneurysms when he was looking at scans for planning my Gamma Knife Radiation treatment my 6 cm cerebral AVM (not a candidate for coiling or surgery due to size, shape, and location). It wasn't a good candidate for coiling due to the shape, so he scheduled me in for a clipping. Thankfully, he did, because when they opened my head up to clip it, they found a second one that was described by my surgeon as "nasty." He was able to clip that one at the same time.

He had wanted me to have at least 4 weeks after surgery before going back to work. I am a teacher, and was able to have surgery 6 weeks before our Staff Development days started for the new school year. I was exhausted that first week back! I was more absent minded for a while upon returning to work--didn't help that my classroom computer had not been set up & I was having to make myself notes throughout the day so I could print things in another classroom after school.

I still have migraines, but they have changed some. I was having more aura & fewer actual headaches and some of the headaches had changed locations. Had another MRI & it showed remodeling. Surgeon sent me to a neurologist. She prescribed nortriptylne and better sleep habits. The combo has really helped.

I still don't quite have the stamina I had previously, but I'm teaching my kids & keeping up with all of the extra paperwork required for teaching Special Education. I still haven't gotten back into a routine for attending dance classes regularly (used to attend at least twice a week & have only been to 5 classes since surgery in July) because I spend so much energy at school, that I'm to tired to go anywhere in the evenings or weekends.

One of my internet friends (we have the same breed of dog & met on a message board) had a ruptured annie treated by coiling a month or so after I had surgery. She is back to working as a vet tech, attending school, and working out (she competes as a body builder.)

hi i had 3 unruptured aneuryms clipped almost 8 years ago when my son was 10 months old to date i am doing ok, my only concern relates to newgrowth of aneurysms at the site of the clippings and an infundibulum that was identified when i last had a check up apparently this is nothing

but i am interested to hear if anyone else has one and what investigations etc they have had.

Hi there Cari

I was also diagnosed with a 7.2 mm aneurysm 3 weeks ago I seen my neurosurgeon and he recommended coiling I’m still waiting for a appointment to go to see the guy who will be performing my operation been waiting 2 weeks now might hear something this week will let you know what he says

I would just like to say welcome to these forums I felt good to find others that are the same as you it’s helping me a lot

Thanks Jimmy

The doc tried to coil my 4mm one, but it was too small for it to work. I also have a 1-2mm one. They say they may never grow - I have no risk factors (no smoking, thin, no diabetes etc) so I'm praying that's the case. The one they coiled was 7x11 and I think was threatening to rupture based on some symptoms I had in the week prior.

THe standard guide, if you look at research, is to act one they reach 7mm - but that's obviously case contingent - and I'm sure your doc has good reason to want to treat this one. My 4mm one was actually my doctors priority, it just didn't work out.

Hi Cari,

I am sorry to hear that you have been diagnosed at all!!

I had a 6,25mm annie clipped Nov. 2010.

Scared is normal, do your best to be positive!!! Believe it or not it will take you a long way.

After my clipping the normal recovery actually went very well. I have not had bad headaches, I get tired at times but that's just to rest. Everyone is different and recovery is different to some degree. You are young and so very lucky that it you have been diagnosed in time.

Time and patience is what it takes.

Do you have a date yet for your surgery?

Your added into my thoughts and prayers!!!


Hey Jimmy,

I am sorry to hear that you also have been diagnosed..

I hope that you will hear something very soon and the recovery can begin as well as go smoothly...

Welcome to the BAF :o)

Thoughts and prayers


Hi Cari,

My annie was began at 3.8 mm, but grew very fast over 3 months to 5.6...The annie is in the right internal carotid artery above the ophthalmic artery. My neurosurgeon's first plan was the clipping, but, then gave me the choice of clipping or using the Liquid embolization, Onyx hd 500 process. I went with the onyx. So far so good.

I had my 1st 6 month angiogram check in December, and all is glued up! No issues.


Hi All,

I'm so thankful to you all for sharing your stories and experiences. I picked up my test report on Friday. The aneurysm is 3.5 mm X 2.5, so fairly small. I go in for a second opinion tomorrow afternoon. It will be interesting to see what the 2nd neurosurgeon recommends. I do believe, due to the family, history the 1st doctor is being very careful. I am a smoker too. Today is my first quit day (I hope). It's just something I've got to do for my life. I've quit several times over the past few years but it only seems to stick for 6 months. This time it will be permanent.

Thanks again to all of you.