Minimally invasive procedure at UMMC repairs brain aneurysms at high risk of bursting

Focused On Health

Dr. Allison Strickland talks with Felicia Beasley, right, at her trans radial web surgery follow-up appointment. (Courtesy: UMMC)

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Felicia Beasley was in need of a new kidney when she had a MRI at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) as part of her preparations to get on the transplant waiting list.

However, the scan revealed she had two brain aneurysms. This particular aneurysm occurs when the wall of an artery or vessel in the brain develops an abnormal bulging or ballooning. That area fills with blood, and it can rupture and cause cognitive loss or death.

It must be surgically repaired to block the flow of blood to the aneurysm bulge.

“I was in shock,” said Beasley, who is disabled, on dialysis and lives in Brookhaven. “It was very surprising.”

According to UMMC leaders, Beasley’s caregivers advised her to give the aneurysms prompt attention and referred her to Dr. Allison Strickland, an assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery. “She did the ‘WEB’ on me,” Beasley said of her April 29 procedure.

The WEB, a medical abbreviation for Woven EndoBridge System, which is a tiny basket-like device made from very fine wires braided together to form a flexible, expanding mesh. Strickland used a catheter to pass the WEB device through an artery in Beasley’s arm and into the aneurysm. The WEB device sits inside the aneurysm and causes it to clot, or thrombose. The aneurysm is then not at risk of rupture.

Passing the web device through a catheter in a patient’s arm is less invasive.

“She had a pretty good-sized basilar tip aneurysm,” Strickland said. “She was a great candidate for the WEB.”

Beasley’s polycystic kidney disease may have played a role because it can be associated with an elevated risk of developing a brain aneurysm. The disease is an inherited disorder that results in fluid-filled sacs in the kidneys, and it usually increases blood pressure, which can put stress on blood vessels.

Of Beasley’s two aneurysms, the larger one “was definitely at a higher risk of rupture,” so the decision was made to treat it first, Strickland said. The second, smaller aneurysm can be surgically repaired later, without using the WEB.

The procedure is done in UMMC’s Interventional Radiology Suite, which opened in September 2020. Patients receive general anesthesia for the procedure, and they stay overnight for observation in the neuroscience ICU before going home the next day.

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