Reporting Aristea Brady
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It doesn’t take a doctor to know that open brain surgery is as invasive a procedure as they come. Now, a Twin Cities hospital is taking the lead with a new procedure that helps patients avoid brain surgery all together.
Abbott Northwestern is one of 30 hospitals in the nation using a recently FDA-approved device that works to stop blood flow to the aneurysm.
Doctors say it’s not only safer, but more effective.
Mary Fellner is now the fourth patient Abbott Northwestern will treat for a giant aneurysm using the pipeline procedure.
“I started having double vision, you know, I’d come down to the highway and look to my right: here’s two of the same cars coming right at me in each lane,” patient Mary Fellner said.
Even after $1,200 in new glasses and countless prescriptions later, Mary Fellner’s double vision still persisted. So, Fellner then went to a third doctor.
“He came as far as the doorway and he said, ‘Oh my God! I can’t believe somebody would let you go like this,’” Fellner said.
Next came an MRI and a CT Scan that showed the aneurysm lies close to the nerves that lead to Fellner’s right eye, causing the double vision. It’s something doctors hope will go away with a successful surgery.
In the past, aneurysms were treated by being plugged up. The new procedure actually allows the aneurysm to heal.
Doctors insert a small mesh tube through an artery in the leg and thread it all the way up to the brain. Through the catheter, the pipeline is delivered.
“Over time what happens is the blood flow slows inside the aneurysm and as blood starts slowing down, it wants to make a clot,” Dr. Josser Delgado said.
Within days, sometimes months, the aneurysm clots and shrinks.
Although only the patient will ultimately know how effective the new procedure proves, Delgado says in Mary’s case so far, so good.
“Technically, we’re pretty happy with the end result right now,” Dr. Delgado said.
Doctors say there’s a 60 percent chance Mary’s symptoms will go away completely and an 80 percent chance symptoms will improve.