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An abnormal widening or ballooning of a section of a blood vessel caused by a weakness in the wall. Find out more about aneuryms at NHS Choices.

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Aneurysm Embolisation

Contact: (0191) 256 3347 - Neuroradiology

IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]

What is a Cerebral Aneurysm?

A cerebral aneurysm is a blister on the wall of one of the blood vessels in your head, which has a risk of bleeding.

What is an Embolisation?

An embolisation is a way of treating your aneurysm so that it is no longer at risk from bleeding.  Aneurysms are embolised using specially designed platinum coils, which are used to pack the aneurysm to prevent it from bleeding.

      An aneurysm before embolisation
An aneurysm before embolisation



 An image of an aneurysm after embolisation

             An aneurysm after embolisation

Before your procedureShow [+]Hide [-]

What happens before the embolisation?

You may already be in hospital, if you are not you will be sent a date to come in for the procedure.  If any of the following are applicable, please ring the Neuroradiology Department as soon as possible on: 

Telephone:  (0191) 256 3347

  • You take Warfarin (a blood thinning tablet).
  • You are a diabetic and/or take Metformin.
  • You think you may be allergic to x-ray dye.
  • There is a possibility you may be pregnant.

You must not have anything to eat or drink from 3am on the day of your angiogram.

Before your embolisation the doctor will come to explain the procedure to you and will ask for your consent to carry it out.

Please bring any medication/inhalers with you when you come into hospital.

During your procedureShow [+]Hide [-]

What happens during your embolisation?

Your embolisation will take place in the angiogram room.  You will be asked to lie on the x-ray table. The anaesthetist will then give you a general anaesthetic, so that you will be fully asleep throughout your embolisation.

Once you are asleep the radiologist will begin the procedure by inserting a small tube into the blood vessel in your groin (this is called a sheath).  The whole of the embolisation will be carried out through this sheath.

A small catheter is placed through the sheath and up into the aneurysm.  The coils are then inserted via this catheter until your aneurysm is completely filled (occluded).

Once your aneurysm has been treated, the anaesthetist will wake you up.

    A diagram showing the coils being placed in the aneurysm
A diagram showing the coils being placed in the aneurysm

After your procedureShow [+]Hide [-]

What happens after your embolisation?

When you are completely awake you will be transferred to the High Dependency Unit (a recovery ward), where you will stay overnight. When you have been moved to the recovery ward (HDU), the nurses  will take your blood pressure and pulse, and check your groin where the sheath may still be in place. This will be removed a few hours later.

The following day you will be transferred to the ward and you will be in hospital for a few days following your embolisation. 

Before you leave hospital the ward staff will arrange any aftercare you might need when you go home.

A small number of patients may experience localised scalp problems for some weeks or months following this procedure. This depends on how complex and lengthy the procedure turns out to be on the day, and cannot be predicted beforehand. You may well not experience any such problems; however if you do notice an area of skin irritation or hair loss, it is our experience that this is temporary. The irritation can be moisturised with aqueous cream and an area of hair loss will be more sensitive to strong sunlight until hair regrowth.

What happens after you leave hospital?

You will be sent an appointment to attend the Neurosciences Outpatient Department, approximately 3 to 6 months after the procedure was carried out.  A check angiogram will be performed about five months after the procedure.

If you have any questions concerning this test please ring the Neuroradiology Department:

Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5:00pm

Telephone: (0191) 282 5413

If you have any problems after your angiogram, outside of normal working hours, please contact your GP, or your local Accident & Emergency Department.  In an emergency you can contact the Senior Nurse in Charge for Neurosciences at the RVI via the switchboard on:

Telephone:  (0191) 233 6161

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