Pronounced: my-CROW-vas-q-lar oh-CLUE-shun
by Deanna M. Neff, MPH
Microvascular occlusion clamps off the artery leading to an aneurysm. This prevents bleeding and rupture. Sometimes a bypass procedure is done as well, rerouting blood vessels to healthy areas of the brain. A portion of the skull is removed (called a craniotomy) and restored during this complex, open surgery.
Reasons for Procedure
Microvascular occlusion often treats a brain aneurysm that has ruptured and caused damage to the artery.
It will not fix damaged areas of the brain, but it can improve quality of life by stopping bleeding or preventing rupture.
Possible Complications TOP
If you are having microvascular occlusion, 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 the surgery.
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure (Non-emergency Surgery)
Your appointment before the surgery may include:
You may meet the neurosurgeon performing the procedure.
Women should let their doctor know if they are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
General anesthesia will be used. It will block any pain and keep you asleep. It is given through an IV (needle) in your hand or arm.
Description of the Procedure
The nurses and doctors will connect you to monitors to watch your blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse during the procedure. A catheter will be inserted to collect urine.
An IV will be placed in your arm for sedation and anesthesia. The nurse will shave an area of your head.
The doctor will perform a craniotomy, removing a small section of the skull to access the brain. X-rays and microscopic viewing will help the doctor find the artery leading to the aneurysm. The doctor will clamp off the artery. A bypass procedure (re-routing blood vessels toward healthy areas of the brain) may also be done.
The section of skull is replaced and the scalp is stitched back into place.
Immediately After Procedure
When the procedure is done, the catheter and IV will be removed. You will need to lie still for 6-8 hours or more. You will stay in the ICU, often for a day. Your blood pressure and other vitals will be monitored closely. You may be given medicine for pain or other symptoms.
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. Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery. Pain or soreness after the procedure can be managed with pain medicine.
Average Hospital Stay
This complex procedure 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, the following can 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
Center for Vascular Surgery (INN)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Brain Injury Association of Alberta (BIAA)
Heart and Stroke Foundation Canada
Hotchkiss Brain Institute
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 Foundtion website. Available at: http://www.taafonline.org/ba_treatment.html#ba_clipping . Accessed June 3, 2010.
Cowen J, Ziewacz J, Dimick J, et al. Use of endovascular coil embolization and surgical clip occlusion for cerebral artery aneurysms. J Neurosurg . 2007;107:530-535. Available at: http://thejns.org/doi/pdf/10.3171/JNS-07/09/0530 . Accessed June 4, 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: 6/6/2012