A brain aneurysm occurs when a blood vessel in the brain begins to bulge. Many brain aneurysms cause no problems, but sometimes they rupture or leak. That can be life-threatening and cause brain damage. Brain aneurysm surgery involves putting a clip on the vein where it is beginning to bulge.
Ruptured vs. Unruptured Aneurysms
If an aneurysm ruptures, surgery must be done immediately and is more dangerous. Patients will need to stay in the hospital longer. If surgery is performed before the aneurysm ruptures, there is less risk and patients will be discharged sooner.
Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit
Patients stay in a recovery room for a few hours after surgery before being transferred to the neurosurgical intensive care unit (NICU), where they will be closely monitored. Patients with an unruptured aneurysm usually stay in the NICU for 24 to 48 hours. Patients that had a ruptured aneurysm will stay in the NICU much longer.
Patients are then transferred to the neurological floor for at least one week, maybe much longer. There doctors will evaluate how much damage was caused by the aneurysm and determine whether or not rehabilitation services are needed.
Patients with an unruptured aneurysm may require little rehabilitation. However, those with ruptured aneurysms may require weeks or even months of rehab. Rehabilitation may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and neuropsychological therapy that works to improve skills like memory and concentration.
Some patients make a full recovery while others will always have some degree of impairment. Prognosis varies depending on whether or not the aneurysm ruptured and the extent of the damage done.