Pronounced: my-CROW-vas-q-lar clip-ping
by Deanna M. Neff, MPH
Microvascular clipping is a surgery to cut off blood flow to an aneurysm. This prevents bleeding and rupture. Typically, a portion of the skull is removed (a procedure called a craniotomy) and restored during this complex, open surgery.
Reasons for Procedure
Microvascular clipping treats a brain aneurysm. It will not fix already damaged areas of the brain, but it can improve quality of life by stopping bleeding or preventing rupture.
Possible Complications TOP
If you having this procedure, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Discuss these risks with your doctor before surgery.
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure (Non-emergency Surgery)
Your appointment before the surgery may include:
Women should let their doctor know if they are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
You will meet the neurosurgeon performing the procedure.
General anesthesia will be used. It will block any pain and keep you asleep through the surgery. It is given through an IV (needle) in your hand or arm.
Description of the Procedure
In the operating room, the nurses and doctors will connect you to monitors to watch your blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse. A catheter will be inserted to collect urine during surgery. An IV will be placed in your arm for sedation and anesthesia. The nurse will cut the hair off an area of your head for surgery.
The doctor will perform a craniotomy, removing a small section of the skull to access the brain. X-rays and microscopic viewing may help the doctor find the exact weakened area of the blood vessel. The aneurysm will be separated from nearby healthy brain tissue. The doctor will then place a small titanium clip at the neck of the aneurysm, stopping blood from flowing. The clip will stay in place to permanently prevent bleeding and/or rupture.
The section of skull will be replaced, and the scalp will be stitched back into place.
Immediately After Procedure
When the procedure is done, the catheter and IV line will be removed. You will need to lie still for 6-8 hours or more. You will stay in the ICU for about a day. Your blood pressure and other vitals will be monitored closely. You may be given medicine.
How Long Will It Take?
3-5 hours or more
How Much Will It Hurt?
You may feel a pinch when your IV is inserted for anesthesia. Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery. Pain or soreness after the procedure can be managed with pain medicine.
Average Hospital Stay
The surgery is done in a hospital setting. The usual length of stay is 4-6 days. Your doctor may choose to keep you longer if complications arise.
At the Hospital
It will take at least 3-6 weeks to recover. When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
Call Your Doctor TOP
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
Call for medical help or go to the emergency room right away if any of the following occurs:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
The Brain Aneurysm Foundation
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Brain Injury Association of Alberta (BIAA)
Heart and Stroke Foundation Canada
American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Treatment options for cerebral aneurysms. American Association of Neurological Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.neurosurgerytoday.org/what/patient_e/treatment.asp . Accessed June 3, 2010.
The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation. Brain aneurysms. The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation website. Available at: http://www.taafonline.org/ba_treatment.html#ba_clipping . Accessed June 3, 2010.
Mayo Clinic. Brain aneurysm. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/brain-aneurysm/ds00582 . Accessed June 3, 2010.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Cerebral aneurysm fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.n... . Accessed June 3, 2010.
Neff D. Brain aneurysm. EBSCO Patient Education Reference Center. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/thisTopic.php?marketID=16&topicID=1034 . Published May 1, 2010. Accessed June 2, 2010.
Last reviewed June 2012 by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Last Updated: 06/05/2012