I have an unruptured brain aneurysm that was found after I complained of constant headaches. My doctor suggested we watch it for a while and that was 10 months ago. I am so confused on how to deal with this. I recently returned to my doctor and said I was ready to have it fixed. The big issue is that it will have to be from the outside of my head, removing part of my scull, etc. I am terrified. I have family with ruptured aneurysm and a family history of strokes. Everyone is telling me that I should just wait and not have such an invasive surgery but I am afraid every day. I have seen the life of people who have suffered rupture and also survived numerous strokes. I can't bear the thought of living like that if I can have it repaired now. I guess I just need a shoulder(s) to help me understand all of this better.
It’s such a difficult decision and one I’ll have to make in the near future (I have a 7mm aneurysm in right carotid terminus) and I’m so scared of the possibilities either way… So I totally understand! Trust your gut feeling and know that there’s a whole community of people here who will support you and answer any questions.
Personally I’m not sure I could deal with the stress of knowing a rupture could happen and the statistic for that! But I guess you need to get very clear statistics about your aneurysm and have a doctor you really trust.
All the best Lynne
X Jho x
I'm sorry you have to make the decision; especially without support from those closest to you. I can't convince you one way or the other; but from what I've read, ruptures cause many unwanted long term effects. Yes, you are not immune to long term negative effects by voluntary surgery, but at least you won't be rolling the dice on a rupture. There should be quite a few people here who have had the elective surgery. If none of them reply, comment on the discussion, and it will bump it back up to Page 1 for more views.
Good luck with your decision.
I had a rupture 9 years ago. I still had 7 more aneurysms not ruptured. 6 of those have been fixed by craniotomy, but one remains. My neurosurgeon told me that given it's small size, and the dangers involved in the craniotomy to fix it based on the location, it was better to monitor it. This I have been doing, and it is still very small, so not too much risk of rupture. If you are not comfortable, get a second opinion from a Dr. with a lot of experience. I also have a family history of aneurysms, btw. A craniotomy is not a walk in the park, and has it's own risks, so talk to drs and be sure you know your options.
I know the feeling. I have a 4mm aneurysm with a choice between watch and wait or clipping. I don’t know what to so either. Not sure how to live in limbo.
Hi, i had elective craniotomy and clipping for my unruptured aneurysm nearly 3 years ago! I obviously didn’t want major brain surgery but living with an aneurysm was not an option for me…i worried every day! I am glad i had it fixed. I was petrified about having the surgery but my recovery went very well thankfully! It all depends on the individual, if you are going to spend every day of your life worrying about a rupture then i would have the clipping done! Good luck and take care.
Hi. I haven’t been on the site in awhile and happened to get on tonight and saw your post. I had an elective craniotomy to clip a 9mm aneurysm 3 years ago. I’m so sorry you are dealing with this. It is a very frightening thing it live with. Each person has to make their own decision on what is best for them, but I want you to know that I am the biggest baby about surgery. Anxiety, what ifs, the whole 9 yards. But I did it and I am so thankful that I did. I was 41 at the time and couldn’t bear the thought of not knowing if I was going to be ok. I’m certainly no expert, but my advice would be to pray, find a neurosurgeon who has done many, many aneurysm clippings. If you are in good health otherwise, you will be completely fine. If I can do it, you can!!! I’m more than happy to answer any questions you might have if it can help. Good luck:)
Hi Renee. Thank you so much for your support. What was it like right after the surgery? Do you have any residual effects from it? Did it take a long time to get back to feeling like yourself? My husband has been wonderful about this and fully supports me. My sister, who is a cardiac RN thinks I should just wait as she feels it could never rupture. I can't live with that. My sister-in-law suffered a rupture a few years ago and several coils were put in but she is like a child. It breaks my heart every time I see her. My son got married on June 28th and when I saw her there I wanted to cry. I watched her and was on the verge of tears the entire reception. That was when I decided to have the surgery.
Mine was unruptured when it was found and it took me 7 months to get to the neurosurgeon. After my PC discovered I hadn't gone, she made the appt. while I was there. That was in 2011 - when I saw the neurosurgeon 2 weeks later, he said that it could on only be fixed by coils and a stent and wanted me to have it done within the next 3 months - not for the size but location -he stated that if it were to burst, I wouldn't live.
I vacillated between wanting to have clipping versus coils, but he stated it had to be coils. I am glad I had the surgery - it really does make me feel more secure.
Hi Jo. Thank you for writing back to me. I am just terrified about having the surgery but more terrified of having to live with the effects of a rupture. What was the hardest part for you after surgery? Did you have any lasting effects? Was the surgery as bad as the pictures make it look?
Reading your post and all the comments here sure brought back a lot of emotions for me. Mine was found while scanning my thyroid and the tech scanned my head (for some reason - I think it was a God thing) in July 2012. I did a lot research and found that the risks between coiling and clipping were very close to the same. I had decided on clipping, because I didn't want to have to think about that aneurysm again. At the end of August after I had had an angiogram, my husband and I met with my neurosurgeon. We had both decided we would tell him that I would go forward with clipping. He started to tell us about the shape, location and size of my aneurysm and said that he met with 8 of his collegues and they all agreed it was not a candidate for coiling. We told him that we had already decided that clipping was what I wanted. He then told me that it had a 2% risk of rupturing in the next 6 mos and that I could put it off for a while. I wanted it done right away so I wouldn't have to stress about it and that our son was getting married October 20. I had my surgery Sept 17, 2012 and had I not done it that day my surgeon said that there was another aneurysm growing off of the back of my aneurysm that was not seen in the angiogram and we avoided a catastrophic event. As it turns out I had 3 hemorrhages during surgery. One was a rupture and the other two were a rare thing that happens with craniotomies. Thank God my surgeon was already in my head and was able to see what was happening and take care of everything. I am not one for hanging around for a long time waiting. So glad I decided to do the surgery quickly. It was the very first surgery I had ever had - and I decided to pick a biggy :) Please don't hesitate to ask any questions you have - I would be more than happy to answer them.
Take Care and God Bless,
It is a difficult decision to make. I too have been in your position, my choice was driven by my family history. My grandmother died at 63 from a ruptured aneursym and I didn’t want that to be me. It has been four years since surgery and yes it hasn’t always been a smooth road, but it gives you a new outlook on life and in hind site I wouldn’t change my decision.
It is your body and your life, trust in God and go with what your heart says.
Please keep us posted on your progress.
Hi Sherri, just curious to know if your coils have compacted since? And, did you suffer major deficits? Best wishes
Hi Lynne - it is great that your husband supports you! And it sounds like your sister knows what she's talking about - chances are, it would never rupture. BUT- for me - I felt like a ticking bomb that may or may not go off. How sad about your sister in law. And she is sister in law right - not sister? No blood relation but two families both dealing with this. Heart breaking. To answer your questions - right after surgery, I was in the ICU, which I was told was standard practice after a craniotomy. My total hospital stay was three nights and four days. Right after surgery, I remember my head had a burning feeling, and I will admit, it was painful but not unbearable, as they quickly gave me pain meds as needed. My vision was blurry, and I couldn't open my mouth very wide - which they told me to expect. On my third day there, I walked around and took a shower with help. The only residual effects I have are that my short term memory doesn't seem like it is as good as it was before (but that could be from having 3 children all going in different directions:). I also get headaches one to two times a week - (dr. says they shouldn't be related to surgery - but they are always behind my left eye which is where the aneurysm was close to). I've always had headaches though. I have to watch what type of exercising I do, as anything with my head down (push ups, etc.) tends to hurt. I don't have any other residual effects. As far as how long it took to feel like myself again - well... that's a tough one! I had surgery in June of 2011 and felt pretty normal physically after about a month. Mentally - it was several months as I worked through getting over the shock and awe of it all. It has definitely given me a different perspective and makes me cherish life even more. Please continue to ask anything that comes to mind...I would have loved to have had this site when I was going through the decision. I didn't look into it until after! Hugs to you.
Hi Renee. Thank you so much for getting back to me. I found this site pretty much by accident. After reading through it for almost a whole day, I felt it is for me. I really need this. I am less afraid of the surgery after reading all of the experiences here. It is going to be very rough, but I feel I am making the right decision. I too feel like a ticking bomb. Yes, she is my sister-in-law, not blood related. My mother though, suffered many small strokes during her 50's and was completely incapacitated by 58. She was in a nursing home for 11 years and all that time she did not know us or even acknowledge us. It was an extremely distressing and sad time for our family. My dad passed away just a few years after her major stroke. I think it was from a broken heart. He loved her so much and didn't want to go on without her. He was only 63. My sisters and I visited her several times a week and always took our children to see her. We wanted them to know her even if she didn't respond to them. They were all so compassionate and gentle with her. I never thought about that until now really but my boys are all very compassionate and caring and patient and great parents. I attributed it to my work with developmentally disables folks for over 20 years. My boys would come to the residential site I managed and play basketball with the guys, visit with them, etc. They learned very young how important it is to care about other people. Ironically, my son Matthew has an autistic step-son. Everything has a reason I guess.
I don't want to be like my mom. That is the bottom line really. Whether it is by stroke, aneurysm or any other neurological illness, I just cannot bear the thought of being like that for the remainder of my life. She was total care for 10 years. The indignity and neglect she dealt with on almost a daily basis at the nursing home was too much. We constantly spoke with the administrators, etc. and it was somewhat better, but you always have those people who really don't care about that person, just the paycheck. I can't bear the thought of having to rely on other people to care for me. I'm just rambling here, I know! So much to think about! Looking forward to being on the other side of this.
Thank you so much for your reply. I am just blown-away by the response and support from this group. All of a sudden I don't feel alone with this. No one can really understand until they are faced with an event or choice like this.
I am 55 years old. My husband and I just celebrated our 15th anniversary last week.. Great accomplishment! I was a single mother for many years of four amazing boys. Through out my life, divorce, losing both of my parents and a brother, raising my children, and now grandchildren, I have never faced anything so scary and uncertain.
I broke my back in a car accident in 2001. Throughout the past 13 years I have had 4 spine surgeries and was out of work off-and-on for several years, I thought I could handle pretty much anything. I went bankrupt and lost everything including my home and job. More recently my husband and I separated for almost two years due to the stress of illness, loss of income, etc. It was very difficult. After I was diagnosed with the aneurysm, we have been very close again. It is a miracle really as I thought it was over for us. All of a sudden all of the things we thought were a big deal between us are unimportant. Maybe, just maybe I will find some peace.
Lynne, congratulations in the celebration of your anniversary. I am so happy that you two have gotten closer through the aneurysm ordeal. My husband and I are also closer than we have ever been. You are so right. Suddenly nothing else really matter as long as we have each other. We will be celebrating 31 years on October.
Sherri...my Q on coil vs clip... I was coiled...highly marketed to me/family...a month before the final FDA approval of patient selection of procedure...(stumbling on some words)
Mine: L ICA / PCOM segment a/w/a many more chapters...the not-diagnosed in records...
Which artery/segment was your aneurysm on...that could have only coil?...
I know what you are going through. You should treat your aneurysm and more so given your family history, and not wait until things get worse. Furthermore the stress of knowing that you have it is like a time bomb. There are many options depending on your age, other medical conditions, size-type-location of the aneurysm. Depending on that you can clip it (open head), or use coilings, stents, or flow diverters, like the pipeline (through the groin, indovascular). I got the pipeline embolization device, and I am doing ok. Mine was 3 mm, in the carotid artery. Check these sources, and then look for a second opinion with all your questions and see what are your options:
It was discovered last august that I had an aneurysm in my right MCA, 4mm. My aunt had one discovered a few yrs prior and my grandmother died of a ruptured aneurysm years before that. I had my mom get a scan done and it showed that she had one too… So I had my mom throughout the process and that was so helpful and I completely understand your worry and want to have someone to help u make this important decision. My neurosurgeon looked at our family history and risk factors and said I should just have the clipping done now while young and otherwise healthy. 5 months later, I had the craniotomy. I was in the hospital for 2 days and returned to work 6 wks later. I know its not the same for everybody but the decision to get it done sooner rather than later was the best decision for me. Before the surgery I would have panic attacks every day wondering if things I was doing were making it worse or making the chance for rupture greater. Getting the surgery was a relief and such a better recovery then I expected! Good luck to you! and you will make the best decision for you! God Bless
Definitely keep us posted