Illinois Brain Aneurysm Center
The Illinois Brain Aneurysm Center offers the most comprehensive care from a highly experienced team dedicated to developing and implementing the best methods for treating this disease. Our physicians are recognized for their innovations and excellence in helping thousands of patients with brain aneurysms.
Neurosurgeons at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System have treated more than 1,000 aneurysms in the last four years. That’s more than anyone else in Illinois.
6 minute informational video about aneurysms.
What is a BRAIN ANEURYSM?
A brain aneurysm is a weak or thin spot on a blood vessel in the brain that balloons out and fills with blood. The bulging aneurysm can put pressure on a nerve or surrounding brain tissue. It may also leak or rupture, spilling blood into the surrounding tissue (also called a hemorrhage).
Some cerebral aneurysms, particularly those that are very small, do not bleed or cause other problems. Cerebral aneurysms can occur anywhere in the brain, but most are located towards the front and form on blood vessels where they branch as they enter the brain..
It is unknown what causes a brain aneurysm, however, research in the field suggests there are both genetic and environmental factors that contribute to their appearance and possible growth and possible rupture.
Aneurysms usually do not cause symptoms unless they are growing or rupture and bleed. They can be found incidentally on imaging of the brain through CT scan and MRI. If an aneurysm ruptures, it causes bleeding into a layer of the brain called the subarachnoid space and can result in death or severe disability and is thus considered a medical emergency. Patients often present with a “thunderclap headache” of sudden onset, described as the worst headache of their life.
One of the challenges facing neurosurgeons is to determine who is at risk for aneurysm rupture and may benefit from treatment. According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, around 1 in 50 people in the United States have an unruptured brain aneurysm, and the annual rate of rupture is approximately 8-10 per 100,000 people. Most aneurysms are seen between the ages of 35-60 and are more prevalent in women at a ratio of 3:2.
This illustration depicts a saccular aneurysm at the branching of two vessels. The arrows denote the direction of blood flow.