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Robin Novakovic, M.D. Answers Questions On Brain Aneurysms and Stroke

Robin Novakovic, M.D. Answers Questions On: Brain Aneurysms and Stroke

Is a brain aneurysm really like a ticking time bomb in your head?

Many patients – and I think even some physicians outside this specialty – feel panicked when they hear of a brain aneurysm. That fear can be accentuated by misinformation they get from the internet or friends. We’re learning that not all aneurysms need to be treated immediately and some are even safe to follow clinically. 

While some people do need to have treatment, risk factor modification – like controlling blood pressure and stopping smoking – can be appropriate in others when combined with surveillance imaging. It takes a thoughtful discussion with the patient and understanding of the disease process to make these informed decisions.

How do you help patients and families understand the complexities of a brain aneurysm?

Beyond diagnosis and treatment of a problem, the first important step in patient care is to help patients and families have an understanding of the disease, the treatment options, and the risks involved. I know that these complex medical issues not only impact patients but their family and loved ones as well. 

My laid-back approach is a way of offering a non-stressful physician-patient interaction. I take the time to make sure the patient and family fully understand the disease state and treatment options. I believe that no patient should leave a physician with more questions, uncertainty, or anxiety than they went in with. I utilize visual aids, like pictures, drawings, and even sample treatment devices, to help offer a better understanding of complex neurological disease states and treatment options.

Have there been improvements in the field of stroke?

Absolutely. The technology we have available for treating aneurysms and stroke continues to evolve and improve. It is an exciting time in the field, allowing us to treat more complex aneurysms and improve outcomes for patients with stroke using the latest devices to go into the blood vessels and pull clots out. 

And as the field advances, our capabilities to treat more complex lesions also progresses. Our team at UT Southwestern also participates in clinical trials, which means our patients have access to the latest treatment innovations. I think we offer the very best in interventional neuroradiology, as well as expertise in a wide range of other specialties, to care for patients – and patients’ families.