Brain Aneurysm

  • Neurosurgery
  • Medical Center Campus
  • East Pavilion, Level 5
  • 111 Colchester Avenue
    Burlington, VT, 05401
  • Phone: 802-847-4590
  • Fax: 802-847-3807
  • Monday-Friday, 8 AM-5 PM
  • Directions

A cerebral aneurysm is a bulging or stretched area of a blood vessel in the brain.

Cerebral aneurysms (also called brain aneurysms) pose a serious health risk. If they burst or rupture, they can cause life-threatening complications, including stroke, permanent nerve damage or death.

Cerebral Aneurysm: What You Need to Know 

Teamwork

Brain aneurysms are best managed with a multi-disciplinary approach by a group of specialists that include neurologists, neurosurgeons and neuroradiologists. At Fletcher Allen, our physicians and other support staff work together as a team, providing expert care and the best possible treatment for cerebral aneurysm and stroke.

Technology

Our team uses the latest technology and minimally invasive procedures to treat brain aneurysms. We offer Endovascular Surgery and Coiling, a less invasive procedure than traditional, open surgery that reduces your recovery time and risk of complications.

Personalized Care 

Whether you need emergency care for a ruptured cerebral aneurysm, or diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of an ongoing problem, we provide a caring, personalized approach that puts patients at the center of everything we do. Our neurosurgeons are committed to working closely with you and your family through all aspects of your care. Treatment plans are individualized to meet your needs.

Experienced, Trusted Expertise

As a university hospital and health system, in partnership with the University of Vermont, our team provides the most advanced care backed by research: we make all diagnostic and treatment recommendations based on the latest thinking in the field. Your treatment is further supported by a strong commitment to high-quality care and ongoing quality improvement. Through patient education, we answer all your questions and help you become as informed as possible throughout your care. 

Fletcher Allen has been recognized nationally by the American Stroke Association for the quality of our stroke care. In addition, our Multidisciplinary Stroke Center is nationally certified as a Primary Stroke Center, recognizing our commitment to improving long-term success for patients.

What is a Cerebral Aneurysm?

Brain aneurysms are a potentially life-threatening condition affecting an estimated six million Americans. Approximately 25,000 people a year experience ruptured aneurysms, most common in people aged 30 to 60.

Early detection and treatment are critical to preventing neurological damage and death. They can leak or rupture. A ruptured cerebral aneurysm can cause sudden, extremely severe headaches, loss of consciousness or seizures. 

In many cases, however, brain aneurysms don’t burst or cause symptoms, and may be detected during tests for other health problems. 

Cerebral aneurysms result from weakening or degeneration in the artery walls. They most often occur at the base of the brain just inside the skull, an area known as the subarachnoid space. 

Risk factors for brain aneurysms include:

  • Family history of the condition - parent, brother or sister with cerebral aneurysm
  • Smoking (Want to quit smoking?)
  • High blood pressure (also called hypertension)
  • Age - the risk increases as you age
  • Hardening of the arteries (also called arteriosclerosis)
  • Complications from certain blood infections

Brain Aneurysm Symptoms

Most patients with a ruptured or leaking aneurysm complain of a sudden, extremely severe headache. Some even describe their headache as the worst headache of their life. Other ruptured or leaking brain aneurysm symptoms include:

  • Sudden, extremely severe headache
  • Passing out (also called loss of consciousness)
  • Seizure
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • A drooping eyelid
  • Confusion

Call 911 immediately if you or someone you are with has a sudden, severe headache, passes out or has a seizure.

If the cerebral aneurysm has not ruptured there may or may not be symptoms depending on where it is in the brain and its size. Unruptured brain aneurysm symptoms can include:

  • Pain above and behind an eye
  • A dilated pupil
  • Change in vision or double vision
  • Numbness, weakness or paralysis of one side of the face
  • A drooping eyelid

Cerebral Aneurysm Diagnosis and Treatment

Fletcher Allen’s medical experts offer comprehensive, experienced diagnosis and treatment for brain aneurysms. Our neurosurgeons are specially trained in the most recent techniques – including minimally invasive surgery and microsurgical techniques. Patients benefit from advanced facilities and equipment, along with access to the latest technology.

Should your cerebral aneurysm need surgery, our neurosurgeons are highly trained in performing surgical procedures. Our knowledgeable physicians treat brain aneurysms on a regular basis.

Learn more about brain aneurysm diagnosis and treatments.

Find a Fletcher Allen Health Care physician or call 802-847-4590.