Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group recognized September as National Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month as its neurosurgeons shared signs and symptoms to increase public awareness.
A cerebral aneurysm is a potentially fatal condition when a blood vessel in the brain bulges or balloons. It may burst or grow to interfere with other brain functions. Swift treatment is essential to recovery.
“Survival and the best possible outcome depends on how fast a person receives care,” Palmetto Health Richland Chief of Neurosurgery Dr. Roham Moftakhar said.
Among the symptoms of a growing aneurysm are pain behind or above the eye, vision problems, a droopy eyelid and facial numbness. Loss of feeling can also affect one side of the body. A ruptured aneurysm may have stroke-like symptoms, such as nausea, severe headache, unconsciousness or vomiting.
While a burst aneurysm is fatal up to 40 percent of the time, quick treatment can save lives. In the past, doctors had to perform brain surgery to repair an aneurysm, but with advances in medicine, many aneurysms can be treated with minimally invasive procedures.
“Now, except for some extreme cases, we no longer have to open up the skull," Moftakhar said. "After surgery, patients are left with only a small dressing in the groin area. Most can go home the next day, and they can get back to work in just a few days in cases when the aneurysm has not ruptured."