Aneurysms Diagnosed and Treated by Expert Neurosurgeons in Baltimore


A cerebral aneurysm is a ballooning of an artery in the brain. This 3D medical animation describes how aneurysms form in the circle of Willis and how they can rupture. Symptoms and treatments such as surgical clipping and endovascular coiling are also explained.

The Minimally Invasive Brain and Spine Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, offers patients comprehensive care from skilled neurosurgeons, experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of brain and spine disorders.

About the Condition

An aneurysm is the widening or bulging of an artery due to a weakness in the wall of the blood vessels. The two most common aneurysms occur in the aorta, the body’s largest blood vessel. Aneurysms also can be found in the abdomen (abdominal aortic aneurysm) and the chest (thoracic aortic aneurysm). 

Aneurysms may also be found in other parts of the body, including the brain and the legs. The exact cause of aneurysms is unknown; however, people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or those who smoke may have a higher risk of developing an aneurysm.

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Symptoms of aneurysms may depend on their location. Aneurysms near the body’s surface may cause pain and swelling. Abdominal aortic aneurysms may cause abdominal, back or groin pain. Thoracic aortic aneurysms may cause hoarseness, swelling in the neck or swallowing problems.

Undetected aneurysms can rupture and be life-threatening, requiring emergency care right away. A ruptured aneurysm causes sudden and severe pain. You can also lose consciousness or go into shock depending on the amount of bleeding. 

Physicians typically diagnose aneurysms through a physical examination. As an aneurysm grows, pressure builds and a physician may feel a tender or pulsating mass in an exam. 

Screening tools for detecting aneurysms can include:

  • Computed Tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Angiograms
NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

Treatment and repair of aneurysms depends on the size and location. Doctors monitor small aneurysms and may ask you to return every 6 to 12 months for additional screening. Larger aneurysms usually require surgery. Surgical options are:

  • An open surgical repair and grafting to replace the damaged blood vessel.
  • An endovascular minimally invasive procedure using stent-graft tubes to reinforce the damaged part of the artery.