Technology provides new, minimally invasive alternative to open brain surgery in many cases

The best approach to brain surgery is often to avoid the surgery altogether.

That is now an option for many aneurysm patients in the region, as neurosurgeons from Tulane Neuroscience Center recently became one of the first teams in the nation to successfully deploy an innovative new treatment that can replace the need for invasive brain surgeries in some cases.

Tulane Medical Center is one of just eight hospitals selected to use this innovative flow redirection endoluminal device.

“The flow redirection endoluminal device is another tool that lets us avoid invasive, open-brain surgeries to treat aneurysms,” said Dr. John Nerva, who performed the procedure along with Dr. Aaron Dumont and Dr. Peter Amenta. “In this particular case, the new device allowed treatment options with less chance of stroke or other adverse effects than traditional treatments. I think we’re going to see that be the case with many other patients to come.”

A brain aneurysm is an abnormal bulging or ballooning of an artery in the brain caused by weakness in the vessel wall. These aneurysms fill with blood and can rupture, causing serious problems including, severe functional disability, cognitive loss and even death.

Often aneurysms that occur where one vessel splits to two can have a wide base and require a surgical solution, in which a physician performs brain surgery and blocks blood flow to the aneurysm. The new flow redirection endoluminal device is instead deployed through a tiny catheter inserted in a patient’s leg that then travels up an artery and into the brain. There, it sits in the artery and diverts the blood flow from the aneurysm to keep it from rupturing.

“When you can avoid an invasive brain surgery, you’ll typically see shorter recovery times, too,” Dr. Nerva said. “Our first patient went home the day after the procedure and is doing great.”

Last year, Tulane Medical Center was also one of the first hospitals in the country to use the WEB™ Aneurysm Embolization System, which also provides a less-invasive option for the treatment of aneurysms. Both options use just one device to treat challenging aneurysms that often require multiple implants, and they can reduce the time it takes to perform the procedure while also reducing the amount of medication the patient requires afterward.

“From creating the first Comprehensive Stroke Program in the city of New Orleans to offering the region’s first robotic guidance and navigation system for spine surgery, we are committed to providing our patients the very best and latest technology and treatments,” said Dr. Robert Lynch, Tulane Health System’s president and CEO.

“This also serves as a reminder to our community that there are health concerns – especially conditions like aneurysms and strokes – that cannot be delayed,” he said. “If you are worried about your health, contact your physician, or call 911.”

To learn more about the Tulane Neuroscience Center and its services, please call (504) 988-5561 or visit our website.