New treatment for brain aneurysms

FRESNO, Calif.

Faith Mitchell likes country music and country living. When she's not drawing her favorite plants, she's fishing.

"I like to fish, that's relaxing just sit there and look at the water," Faith Mitchell told Action News.

This 70- year- old Southern bell is enjoying what life has to offer. But it wasn't long ago her life took a scary turn. After a nasty fall, painful headaches set in.

"They would go and come just as fast, they were almost constant," Faith said.

A cat scan revealed an aneurism lodged behind her eye in a very deep part of the brain, a dangerous and almost inoperable spot.

"I was really scared because I didn't know what to expect," Faith said.

When neurologist Dr. Scott Standard saw faith's scans, he decided to use a newly FDA approved pipeline stent to remove her aneurysm.

"It's a revolutionary advance in terms of actually being able to reconstruct the blood vessels within the brain," Scott Standard, MD, Chief Neurosurgery at Saint Thomas Hospital, said.

Traditionally, surgeons remove a small section of the skull, and go underneath the brain to clip the aneurysm, but with the pipeline stent, everything is done through an artery in the leg.

"It allows blood flow to occur through the inside of the stent but also into the very small blood vessels around the aneurysm," Dr. Standard said.

Once inserted, the stent expands against the walls of the artery and across the aneurysm, cutting off blood flow. The blood remaining in the blocked-off aneurysm forms a clot which reduces the chance for it to grow or rupture.

"We were able to go through the blood vessel, reconstruct an entire segment with one single stent. The aneurysm will completely heal around the stent and completely go away," Dr.Standard said.

Today, Faith's put her scare behind her.

"You can't let things get you down. I'm getting stronger every day, feeling better every day," Faith said.

Stronger, pain free and back to loving life.

For now, the pipeline stent is only FDA approved for certain types of complicated aneurysms. The stent also cuts recovery time from six months to only 10 days.

Tina Morehead
Howell Allen Clinic
(615) 341-7435

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