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Brain Aneurysm

Brain Aneurysm

You can have a brain aneurysm for years and not know it. But if you start having really bad headaches, getting checked out could save your life.

Often, a brain (cerebral) aneurysm isn’t found until you see your healthcare provider because of throbbing, sharp or even dull headaches that won’t go away. The diagnosis can come as a complete surprise. And it can be overwhelming knowing that you’ve been living with a condition that could become very serious at any moment. When a brain aneurysm bursts (ruptures), it can be life-threatening.    

That’s why you need an expert care team who can help prevent the unthinkable from happening and is ready to jump into action if you need emergency help. You’ll find those experts at Cleveland Clinic. Our experienced specialists treat all types of brain aneurysms with personalized treatment plans designed just for you.

Why choose Cleveland Clinic for Brain Aneurysm Care?

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Demonstrated expertise:

Our highly specialized care team includes endovascular neurosurgeons, interventional neurologists and interventional neuroradiologists with expertise in minimally invasive techniques and traditional (open) brain surgeries. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained healthcare providers are experts in the brain’s blood vessels (cerebrovascular system). Meet our team.

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Specialized equipment:

Treating aneurysms effectively begins with a clear understanding of the aneurysm’s location and size. We use the most advanced technology, like 7-Tesla (7T) MRI and high resolution angiography, to get detailed high-definition pictures of your brain. Our experts also use the newest printing technologies to create personalized 3D aneurysm models to help us make the best treatment decisions.

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Personalized care:

Our highly skilled team includes providers in many specialties, which lets us tailor your treatment specifically for you. You can be sure that your care is in the most capable hands with providers uniquely qualified to treat you.

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Compassionate care:

We talk with you about each treatment option. Our experts take the time to answer your questions and consider your opinions when developing your treatment plan.

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Virtual visits:

We want to make your care as convenient as possible. That’s why for some appointments, we offer virtual visits. This safe and easy alternative to an in-person appointment lets you meet with your provider from the comfort of home.

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National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We're recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.

Types of Brain Aneurysms We Treat

Brain aneurysms (also called cerebral aneurysms) form because of a weak spot on the wall of a blood vessel. Over time, this spot can get bigger and turn into a pocket. And because the pocket is weak, it can break and cause bleeding around your brain.

Aneurysms can form anywhere in your brain but often develop at the brain’s base. They range in size. Some aneurysms stay small and stable. Others grow larger and may leak blood into your brain or burst suddenly (rupture). You might be at increased risk of a ruptured aneurysm if you have:

A ruptured aneurysm can be life threatening. Get medical attention right away if you or someone you love has:

  • A sudden excruciating headache worse than any you’ve had before.
  • Dizziness.
  • Signs of stroke.
  • A stiff neck.

Brain Aneurysm Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic cerebrovascular specialists can quickly diagnosis a brain aneurysm. We begin by examining you and talking with you about any symptoms you’re having.

We may recommend tests to make sure we know the size and location of the aneurysm. These tests can include:

We use high-definition MRI and angiography to get detailed views of the aneurysm. We talk with you about what we see and help you understand your treatment options. Our cerebrovascular team members work together — and with you — to develop a care plan that meets your needs and health goals.


Our healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio, Florida and London.

Brain Aneurysm Treatment at Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic experts use different treatments to manage and repair brain aneurysms. The best treatment for you will depend on your overall health, the size and location of the aneurysm and how likely it is to rupture. We may recommend:


If your aneurysm is small and not likely to rupture, our specialists may decide to just keep a close eye on it to make sure it doesn’t grow or change. This is known as observation or watchful waiting. We consider the aneurysm’s location and size, as well as your age, medical history and any risks of treating the aneurysm.

Endovascular treatment

Our endovascular neurosurgeons, interventional neurologists, and interventional neuroradiologists use minimally invasive techniques and tools to make the aneurysm smaller and lower the chances of it rupturing. We offer:

  • Aneurysm coiling: Experts use a thin flexible tube (catheter) to insert a wire into an artery in your wrist or groin. They thread this wire to your brain and into the aneurysm. They move platinum wire coils along the wire and into the aneurysm to block blood from entering.
  • Flow diversion: Specialists insert a mesh tube (stent) through a catheter in your wrist or groin and move it through your body to the aneurysm. The stent keeps blood from getting into the aneurysm so it doesn’t rupture.
  • WEB™ embolization system: We insert a Woven EndoBridge (WEB™) device — a tiny sphere made of wires — through a catheter in your wrist or groin and move it to the aneurysm. The device takes on the aneurysm’s shape, eliminating the need for multiple coils. Specialists may use this device to stop blood from flowing into complex or large aneurysms.


While open brain surgery is a more invasive option, aneurysms may be less likely to return when treated this way. Here’s what will happen in surgery:

Your surgeon will cut a small opening in your skull to get to the aneurysm. Then they’ll use a tiny microscope and surgical instruments to attach a small metal clip at the base of the aneurysm to pinch it off. This will stop the blood from flowing into the aneurysm. This surgery can stop a leak or keep an unruptured aneurysm from bursting open.

3D printing technology lets us make models of complex aneurysms. Using a model, your surgeon makes a detailed plan for clip size and placement to reduce surgery time and help you heal faster.

And because our team includes experts from several different specialties, you can rest assured that your treatment will be uniquely tailored to you and be done by the most skilled hands.

Emergency Treatment for Ruptured Brain Aneurysms

Our cerebrovascular team members are highly skilled and experienced in treating ruptured brain aneurysms. We use advanced techniques to stop brain bleeds quickly to give you the best possible chance for recovery and healing. To help with recovery, our stroke rehabilitation services work with you to help you recover lost skills and become independent again.

Taking the Next Step

Being told you have a brain aneurysm is scary. But with Cleveland Clinic experts by your side, you can rest assured you’re in skilled, capable and compassionate hands. But getting treatment as soon as possible is very important. So be sure to reach out to your provider right away if you’re having unusually bad headaches or other symptoms that don’t seem right. These symptoms could point to many things, including a brain aneurysm.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic brain aneurysm experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.


Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic brain aneurysm experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.

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