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Babu Welch, M.D. Answers Questions On Neurosurgery

Babu Welch, M.D. Answers Questions On: Neurosurgery

What is endovascular surgery?

This is a minimally invasive technique to treat aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), stroke, and carotid artery disease. In addition to achieving effective outcomes, patients may benefit from shorter hospital stays and recovery times. With endovascular surgery, the neurosurgeon can enter the femoral artery and reach the brain to treat the problem. It can be sealed, with any further bleeding stopped. For AVMs, endovascular techniques are used to inject material into abnormal vessels using microcatheters. Dangerous components of the AVM can be eliminated to make other therapies safer or more effective. 

Endovascular surgery has revolutionized the treatment of stroke and the causes of stroke. Through a similar approach through the artery in the leg, surgeons now have the ability to open vessels in the neck and brain to restore blood flow within minutes. The results can be very dramatic.

Is less-invasive surgery just as effective as traditional surgeries in resolving aneurysms?

For many patients, the results are similar. We can now resolve more brain aneurysms with less-invasive procedures while achieving the same outcomes as a more extensive surgical intervention, such as craniotomy.

Does UT Southwestern have information about which options will be most successful in resolving aneurysms?

Yes. UT Southwestern Neurosurgery has built one of the largest databases on aneurysms in the world, evaluating the pathology of the disorder as well as effective neurosurgical treatments. By evaluating how we treat each patient, we make things better for the next patient.

Can genetic factors help predict the likelihood of someone developing a brain aneurysm?

Some studies show that some people with immediate family members who had aneurysms (mothers, father, grandparents, and first-degree aunts and uncles) are at greater risk for developing aneurysms. MRA (magnetic resonance angiogram) studies are the most effective and safe screening method for those patients who are considered more likely to have an aneurysm.