Fall 2011 Issue
|Practice Neurosurgeon Is The First In NC To Use
Flow-Diverting Technology To Treat Aneurysms
Breakthrough Procedure Gives Hope To Patients With Large Aneurysms
Practice neurosurgeon Joe Bernard, Jr., MD, of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, was the first surgeon in North Carolina and one of the first surgeons in the country to implant the recently FDA-approved Pipeline Embolization Device (PED). The PED is the first device of its kind, using flow-diverting technology to treat unruptured large and giant aneurysms through the blood vessel. This new technology prevents the aneurysm from rupturing and causing significant disability or death. It's estimated that 30,000 people in the United States experience a ruptured brain aneurysm every year.
In contrast to traditional treatment procedures for aneurysms, which often require weeks or months of recovery, PED patients typically go home from the hospital the day after their procedure and can return to normal activities within just a few days.
"This is the breakthrough we've been waiting for," said Dr. Bernard. "This procedure allows us to now treat patients with large or giant aneurysms who previously had very few options."
The PED is a minimally invasive technique that provides an endovascular alternative to coil embolization. While the use of coils to fill an aneurysm has proven to be effective in some cases. this treatment is not as successful with larger aneurysms. Other treatments involve a craniotomy and a vessel-to-vessel bypass in the brain using an artery from the patient's arm or a vein from the leg. The PED is much less invasive than these alternative options and is put in place using a catheter that is inserted into the leg and is then threaded to the brain aneurysm.
"With the new PED in place, the aneurysm will actually collapse over time, similar to a balloon deflating, because pressurized blood is no longer pushing against the wall," said Dr. Bernard. "Previously, catheter-based treatment options did not collapse the aneurysm."
He also cautions, "The Pipeline Embolization Device is not right for every aneurysm. Coil embolization and open craniotomy for clipping will remain useful tools to treat certain aneurysms. At Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, we have the expertise to help patients select the best treatment based on the size, shape, and location of an aneurysm with the least risk possible."
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