'Super glue' for the brain: Doctors have new way to treat aneurysms

'Super glue' for the brain: Doctors have new way to treat aneurysms

Credit: Wendy Rigby / KENS 5

An aneurysm is a weakness along an artery in the brain that is prone to rupture

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by Wendy Rigby

KENS 5

Posted on June 2, 2011 at 2:43 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 8 at 3:00 PM

SAN ANTONIO --  A brain aneurysm can create life-threatening health problems if it ruptures. Now, doctors have a new tool, a kind of glue, to cure aneurysms.

Col. Amy Bechtold is an Air Force trial judge who was being checked for ringing in her ears when doctors discovered a hidden health threat: a brain aneurysm.
 
“So I was very lucky to find out it was even there,” she commented.
 
An aneurysm is a bulging, weak area in a vessel in the brain. “It’s a weakness along the wall of the artery that is prone to rupturing and causing a massive brain hemorrhage,” explained Maj. (Dr.) Christopher Koebbe, an endovascular neurosurgeon at BAMC.
 
Koebbe is using a new treatment for aneurysm. It’s a special kind of glue used to fill up the void of the aneurysm and prevent bleeding and rupture.
 
“It’s a liquid that’s delivered by a catheter that we insert through an artery in the groin area,” Koebbe said. “And then we navigate it up into the brain cavity. And then we basically inject.”
 
The product called Onyx starts out as a liquid and solidifies as it hits the blood. The one hour surgery, called endovascular aneurysm repair, creates a permanent cure.
 
“I had brain surgery yesterday and I’m going home today,” Bechtold stated.
 
“This is one of the few things I can tell a patient when they walk out of the hospital that they’re definitely cured,” Koebbe said.
 
Curing aneurysms is critical since 50% to 60% of patients who experience a rupture are disabled or die.

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