Endovascular Coiling

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Coiling, also called endovascular coiling, coil placement or coil embolization, treats cerebral (brain) aneurysms. Unlike traditional clipping, coiling doesn’t require an incision in the skull. Instead, your doctor threads a catheter from a blood vessel in the groin up into the blood vessels in the brain. Your doctor uses fluoroscopy (a special type of X-ray) to help move the catheter to your head and into the aneurysm.

Once the catheter is in place, your doctor moves tiny platinum coils through the catheter into the aneurysm. These soft platinum coils, which are visible on X-ray, conform to the shape of the aneurysm. The coiled aneurysm becomes clotted off (embolization), which prevents a rupture.

The Advantages of Minimally Invasive Coiling

You can benefit from coiling, because it doesn’t require big cuts in your skull. This procedure:

  • Gives you the option to sleep or stay awake during the treatment 
  • Does not expose you to the risks of traditional surgery
  • Means a quicker and easier recovery

Coiling for Complex Cerebral Aneurysms

Some aneurysms are large or have a wider neck or opening. In these cases, inserted coils can protrude out of the aneurysm and into the blood vessel. This can lead to a stroke.

We can prevent this complication with a couple of methods:

  • Balloons can hold the coils in place when inflated in your artery near the aneurysm
  • Stents can cut off the flow of blood to the aneurysm while keeping coils from moving

Removable Stent Technology

Traditional stents stay in your body after a coiling procedure. At UVA, we can use a removable stent called the Comaneci device. We started using this device before anyone else in Virginia.

The Comaneci device looks like a small, rolled-up, chain-link fence. With a tiny catheter, we insert the stent through your artery to the aneurysm. Then, the device expands and creates a scaffolding that keeps the coils in place. Once the coils fill the aneurysm completely, we collapse the stent and remove it from the artery.

You must take blood thinners before the procedure, but not after. You’ll recover quickly. Most patients leave the hospital after a day.

Coiling Alternatives

If you're not a candidate for coiling, we also offer microvascular clipping for brain aneurysms.