- Department of Experimental Biomedicine and Clinical Neurosciences, Section of Neurosurgery, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
- Unit of Neurosurgery, A.R.N.A.S.Civico Hospital, Palermo, Italy
Unit of Neurosurgery, A.R.N.A.S.Civico Hospital, Palermo, Italy
DOI:10.4103/2152-7806.171257Copyright: © 2015 Surgical Neurology International This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License, which allows others to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as the author is credited and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.
How to cite this article: Grasso G, Perra G. Surgical management of ruptured small cerebral aneurysm: Outcome and surgical notes. Surg Neurol Int 08-Dec-2015;6:185
How to cite this URL: Grasso G, Perra G. Surgical management of ruptured small cerebral aneurysm: Outcome and surgical notes. Surg Neurol Int 08-Dec-2015;6:185. Available from: http://surgicalneurologyint.com/surgicalint_articles/surgical-management-of-ruptured-small-cerebral-aneurysm-outcome-and-surgical-notes/
Background:Management of small aneurysms often poses a therapeutic dilemma and surgical treatment or coiling can be considered as therapeutic choices. In the present study, we reviewed our series of ruptured small cerebral aneurysm treated surgically.
Methods:A total of 53 consecutive patients with ruptured small aneurysm were surgically treated between January 2008 and July 2014. Data were retrospectively collected. Procedure-related death and complications were systematically reviewed. Clinical outcomes were assessed using the Modified Ranking Scale. Neuroradiological follow-up was performed to assess aneurysmal occlusion and recanalization rate.
Results:The mean aneurysm size was 2 mm ± 0.8 mm. All the patients were operated and the aneurysm clipped. Clinical outcomes were as expected on the basis of the presenting Hunt and Hess grade. Overall, major and minor neurological deficit related to clipping were 5.2% and 2.2%, respectively. At the time of discharge, 84.9% of the patients presented with a favorable outcome, while 15.1% had poor clinical outcome. Aneurysm occlusion was achieved in all the cases. Neither recanalization nor re-aneurysmal rupture was observed in the clinical follow-up.
Conclusion:Aneurysms, 3 mm in diameter or smaller, represent a therapeutic challenge. Given the proven role of microsurgery in small aneurysms and the perceived challenges with endovascular therapy, surgical clipping still can be considered an effective treatment modality in this setting.
Keywords: Intracranial aneurysm, neuroradiology, retrospective studies, treatment outcome
Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) from rupture of an intracranial aneurysm is a devastating event. Data from population-based studies suggest that the incidence rates of cerebral aneurysm vary considerably from 6 to 16/100,000, with the highest rates reported from Japan and Finland.[
Outcome depends on a myriad of interrelated factors, including the severity of the initial event, rebleeding, perioperative medical management, and the timing and technical success of aneurysm treatment. Treatment of ruptured cerebral aneurysm is the primary concern in all patients after SAH. To date, surgical management is related to a mortality rate of 2% and approximately 10% morbidity rate.[
Small aneurysms account for 6% of all ruptured intracranial aneurysms[
Although the International Subarachnoid Aneurysm Trial (ISAT) showed an outcome benefit with endovascular coiling compared to surgical clipping,[
A retrospective chart review was performed of all patients who had surgical treatment of an aneurysm ≤3 mm in diameter between 2008 and 2014. Among a cohort of 382 surgically treated aneurysms, a total of 53 consecutive patients were enrolled. Blister aneurysms were not considered in this series since they differ both morphologically and histologically from saccular aneurysms and likely represent a distinct pathophysiology. Medical charts, angiographic studies, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, computed tomographic (CT) and CT angiography (CTA) scans were carefully reviewed. Patients’ age, sex, Hunt and Hess grades, and aneurysm locations were recorded. All diagnoses were confirmed on imaging (CTA, MRI angiography and/or digital angiography). Morbidity and mortality related to clipping were defined as intra-procedural and/or postoperative ischemic or bleeding events. Stroke was defined as a new neurological deficit on clinical examination during 48 h following surgery with a visualization of CT hypodensity and/or high signal MRI intensity on apparent diffusion coefficient sequences. Patients presenting with neurological deficits without modified signal or density in neuroradiological exams were considered affected by cerebral vasospasm. Bleeding complications were defined as a new postoperative hematoma in the aneurysmal vascular area or an increasing volume of more than one-third of an intra-parenchymal hematoma in the next 12 h after surgery. An independent neuroradiologist and neurosurgeon, blinded to the study, revised both clinical and radiological records to evaluate causes for ischemic or bleeding events and their correlation with surgery.
Procedural complications, epidural/subdural hematomas, infections, and postoperative seizures, were also included. Clinical outcomes were measured with the Modified Rankin Scale and radiological follow-up by CTA to assess aneurysmal occlusion and recanalization rate.
Surgical treatment was undertaken following the diagnosis of cerebral aneurysm, and no later than 24 h following bleeding. Different surgical approaches were used according to aneurysm location. Following the intraoperative identification of the aneurysm, temporary clips were routinely used in all the cases to prevent aneurysm rupture. Accordingly, aneurysm was isolated and clipped using miniclip. Lamina terminalis was fenestrated in all the cases for hydrocephalus prevention.[
Between January 2008 and July 2014, among a cohort of 382 surgically treated aneurysms, 53 consecutive patients underwent surgical treatment for ruptured small cerebral aneurysm. The mean age of patients was 50.4 years (range, 23–77 years). Seventy percent of patients were women (n = 37) and 30% were men (n = 16). The mean Hunt and Hess grade at the time of admission was 2 (range, 2–4) and the mean Fisher score was 2 (range, 1–4). The mean aneurysm size was 2 mm ± 0.8 mm. Demographics characteristics and aneurysm location are showed in
Aneurysm clipping was successfully achieved in all the patients.
Ischemia related to surgery was observed in 15% of the cases and hemorrhage in 13.2%. No mortality related to clipping was observed. Overall, major and minor neurological deficit related to clipping were 5.2% and 2.2%, respectively. IOR rate was 15% in the whole cohort. In one case (1.9%), a surgical site infection was observed and completely solved by targeted antibiotic therapy. In another case (1.9%), postoperative seizure was treated by a combination of antiepileptic drugs. Cerebral vasospasm was observed in 32% of the cases. Hydrocephalus developed in 15% of the patients and was treated by ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement. At the time of discharge, 84.9% of the patients attained a favorable outcome (moderate, mild, or no disability). Only 8 patients (15.1%) had poor clinical outcome. Overall, Hunt and Hess Grades III–V were associated with poor clinical outcome [
This 55-year-old man suffered sudden-onset headache. On admission, he manifested no neurological deficits. Brain CT scan demonstrated SAH involving the basal and interhemispheric cisterns with a Fisher Grade 2 [
Surgical treatment was undertaken via right pterional approach. The aneurysm was identified on the carotid bifurcation [
Intraoperative images showing the key steps for aneurysm clipping. (a) Small aneurysm on the right carotid bifurcation; (b) positioning of a temporary clip on the right internal carotid artery, A1 segment of the right anterior cerebral artery, and M1 segment of the right middle cerebral artery; (c) aneurysm closure by miniclip application
The patient did not present any postoperative neurological deficit and was discharged on postoperative day 5.
Small aneurysms with 3 mm or less in diameter are rare lesions representing a real challenge for diagnosis and management. Because of their small size, fragile-thin wall, and a broad-based neck, these aneurysms are difficult to manage. The optimal management of small aneurysms remains controversial. In the ISUIA, the perioperative morbidity and mortality for patients who underwent either clipping or coiling of their unruptured intracranial aneurysm was about 10%.[
It has been reported that patients with ruptured intracranial aneurysms <5 mm are associated with a higher rate of presentation with poor Hunt and Hess grades than ruptured intracranial aneurysms larger than 5 mm.[
Endovascular management is technically challenging because of the small size of the aneurysms. Coiling has been associated with an increased risk of intraprocedural rupture.[
Since patients with small aneurysms were excluded from ISAT, information about these aneurysms comes from unpowered studies. The BRAT, another leading study, reported poor outcome at 1 year in 33.7% of patients treated with open surgery versus 23.2% of those who underwent endovascular treatment.[
In our study, aneurysm clipping was successfully achieved in all the patients. Major and minor neurological deficit related to clipping were 5.2% and 2.2%, respectively. No mortality related to clipping was observed. Ischemia related to surgery was observed in 15% of the cases and hemorrhage in 13.2%. Overall, IOR rate was 15% in the whole cohort. Cerebral vasospasm was observed in 32% of the cases. Hydrocephalus developed in 15% of the patients and was treated by ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement. At the time of discharge, 84.9% of the patients attained a favorable outcome (moderate, mild, or no disability). Only 8 patients (15.1%) had poor clinical outcome. Overall, Hunt and Hess Grades III–V were associated with poor clinical outcome.
During the follow-up, complete aneurysm occlusion was observed in all the patients at an average neuroradiological follow-up of 52 months. Neither recanalization nor rebleeding was reported for patients who have been controlled by a second CTA. In one case, a surgical site infection was observed and completely solved by targeted antibiotic therapy. In another case, postoperative seizure was treated by a combination of antiepileptic drugs.
In our series, we routinely used temporary clips for safe aneurysm dissection. Small aneurysms have a fragile, thin wall and dissection may be followed by aneurysm rupture leaving a hole into the artery wall. Temporary clips application reduces the risk of aneurysm rupture and gives an optimal view for miniclip application on aneurysm.
Our findings suggest that surgical clipping can still be considered an effective treatment modality for small-ruptured aneurysm. However, this study is based on a retrospective analysis from a single center experience without independent outcome assignment and do not compare surgical versus endovascular treatment. Furthermore, a significant number of clipped aneurysms have not been controlled by second CTA. These limitations, however, do not detract from the importance of the results obtained. Aneurysm clipping was successfully achieved in all the patients without mortality and low morbidity rate related to surgical treatment. At the time of discharge, almost all the patients attained a favorable outcome.
Small aneurysms represent a true challenge for diagnosis and management. Our findings support the effectiveness of surgical clipping although emerging data points out a blossoming endovascular solution. Large randomized controlled trial to compare the two treatment modalities can clarify most of the important issues. In the meantime, surgical treatment of small aneurysms remains safely and effectively.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
We thank Prof. J. Hernesniemi, from the Helsinki University, for his valuable suggestions and for providing the surgical images.
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