Brain Aneurysm Treatment

If you have been diagnosed with a brain aneurysm, the brain aneurysm experts at UI Health will assess all available options to develop the best treatment plan. Individual factors that can affect brain aneurysm treatment decisions include:

  • Neurological condition and other baseline medical conditions
  • Age
  • Aneurysm location, size, and shape
  • Aneurysm status (ruptured or unruptured) or risk for rupture


Brain aneurysms can be treated either surgically or through an endovascular approach. About 50 percent of the aneurysms treated through an endovascular procedure, without the need for direct surgery. If the aneurysm is unruptured, options for management may include observation with follow-up imaging at regular time periods to monitor changes in the size of the aneurysm, or aneurysm treatment with either surgical clipping or endovascular coiling.

At UI Health, the following treatments may be used to treat a brain aneurysm:

Endovascular Embolization Procedure

Aneurysm embolization is a nonsurgical treatment performed by an endovascular neurosurgeon. In this procedure, a small catheter is threaded through the femoral (thigh) artery in the groin up into the brain. The catheter is carefully guided to the aneurysm, and tiny platinum coils are guided through a microcatheter into the aneurysm to block it off. Hospital stay following an aneurysm embolization is between two and three days.

Flow-diverting stents are a newer technology that may be used to treat aneurysms nonsurgically.

Open Neurosurgery Craniotomy with Surgical Clipping Procedure 

A craniotomy is a surgical procedure in which an incision is made into the bone of the skull to locate and clip the blood vessel with the aneurysm. With the assistance of a microscope, the neurosurgeon locates the aneurysm and places a titanium clip to block off the aneurysm. (Most aneurysms can be treated through a minimally invasive approach with a small eyebrow or hairline incision and silver dollar size opening in the skull.) Angiography is done postoperatively to determine effectiveness of clipping. The typical hospital stay for craniotomy and aneurysm clipping is between two and three days.

Craniotomy with Cerebral Bypass Procedure

UI Health is among only a handful of medical centers that perform cerebral bypass. Cerebral bypass is performed for complex aneurysms that can't be treated by traditional clipping. Through a craniotomy, a bypass is placed to re-route the brain circulation around the aneurysm to prevent it from filling. Intra-operative flow measurement, in addition to postoperative angiogram and NOVA MRA, are used to confirm bypass patency. The typical hospital stay following cerebral bypass is between three and five days.