Dr. Kamal Thapar, MD., PhD., FRCSC., FAANS
1200 Oakleaf Way, Suite A, Altoona, WI 54720

Brain Aneurysm

A brain aneurysm is an abnormal bulge or weakening present within a blood vessel in the brain. Due to the abnormal bulging of the blood vessel wall, its lining becomes less resilient and it is prone to rupturing. If a brain aneurysm ruptures, there will be excessive bleeding within the brain, which is a life-threatening emergency.


– Old age

– Smoking

– High blood pressure and high cholesterol levels

– Arteriosclerosis

– Traumatic head injury

– Family history of brain aneurysms


Depending on the size of the aneurysm, there may or may not be any symptoms associated with it. If the aneurysm ruptures, patients often complain of “the worst headache of their life.” Other symptoms include visual changes, weakness, nausea, vomiting, numbness and tingling.


If a brain aneurysm is suspected in a patient, a series of tests will be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. First, a CT scan of head will be ordered to look for the presence and location of bleeding. Additional tests may include an MRI of the brain, cerebral angiogram and a lumbar puncture.


Treatment for a brain aneurysm is dependent on several factors including size and location of the aneurysm and overall health of the patient. If the aneurysm has already ruptured, intervention is usually required. In most instances, this will not require open surgery as endovascular coiling is frequently the preferred choice. In other instances, open surgery may be necessary or life-saving.