New device is big advancement in brain aneurysm treatment

Medical technology breakthrough promising for brain aneurysm treatment

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It’s no secret that technology has come a long way. Everyday we learn how it can help save and improve lives.

There’s a new treatment for brain aneurysms and Norton Neuroscience Institute is one the first two centers in Kentucky to offer it.

It’s called the Woven EndoBridge (WEB) device and it was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

“The WEB device potentially represents one of the next big shifts in aneurysm treatment,” Dr. Tom Yao, a neurosurgeon with Norton Neuroscience Institute said. "It will be an excellent tool to complement the treatment options we have available now.

Sheila Cates Wathen, 75, recently had a horrible migraine and vision problems. She went to the hospital and had a CT scan that revealed something she wasn't expecting.

“Found the aneurysm, actually had two, one large and one small,” Wathen said. “I just couldn’t believe it. It’s actually very lucky that they found it most people don’t find them and they end up having a stroke and much worse happening.”

A brain aneurysm is a weak area in the wall of a blood vessel that bulges or balloons out from the normal vessel wall. Because the wall integrity is compromised, the weakened wall can burst, causing a brain bleed. According to Dr. Yao, the goal of aneurysm treatment is to prevent blood from getting to the weak part of the aneurysm.

The WEB device is a sphere of woven wires that is inserted into an artery in the groin, then threaded up into the aneurysm. It forms to the shape of the aneurysm and holds in place so that it can prevent blood flow into the aneurysm and allow healing of the vessel wall.

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Dr. Yao performed the procedure on Wathen last week. He said the WEB device combines methods of two other aneurysm treatments - coiling and flow-diverting stents.

"Coiling an aneurysm involves placing little wires inside the aneurysm to prevent blood from going in," Dr. Yao said. "A flow-diverting stent allows us to direct blood flow out of the aneurysm. The new WEB device makes use of both of these methods."

Dr. Yao said the new WEB device provides several advantages for treating brain aneurysms. He said it’s easier to place because the WEB device is designed to fit the aneurysm. It simplifies treatment by decreasing the length of surgery.

Dr. Yao said it’s safer because patients don’t have to be placed on as many blood thinners and it also decreases the patient’s stroke risk because nothing is placed inside the main artery where the aneurysm is located.

Patients can typically go home the next day. Norton has done 12 of the WEB treatment procedures since February.

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