What to Expect from Aneurysm Coiling

Prior to the Procedure

  • Talk to your doctor about any medications/vitamins/herbs/inhalers you are taking or use as you may need to stop certain ones before the test.
  • Tell your physician about any food/medication allergies, especially if you are allergic to strawberries, shellfish (crab or shrimp) or iodine.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding or clotting disorders, liver or kidney disease or a thyroid conditions.
  • Do not drink anything for 12 hours prior to your test.
  • Talk to your doctor about taking any required medications (diabetes or blood pressure meds).
  • Please tell your doctor if you are pregnant, nursing or are trying to become pregnant.
  • You will have blood samples taken in case you need a blood transfusion.

On the Day of the Procedure

  • If your doctor approves of you taking required meds, do so prior to arrival with a very small sip of water.
  • The doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.

After Your Procedure

  • Your leg where the incision was made will need to remain elevated for several hours to prevent bleeding. In some cases, a special devise may be used to close the site, which can shorten the stay.
  • Your heart rate and blood pressure will be monitored closely.
  • If you feel any discomfort, request an ice pack to be applied to the puncture site.
  • You will be able to eat or drink following the procedure.
  • Most patients go home the same day, but discharge depends on your recovery and your surgeon's instructions.
  • You will have to have a driver to take you home as you cannot drive after the procedure.

Recovery: what to expect in the next few weeks

  • Your doctor may prescribe blood-thinning medications and to have follow-up tests to determine the effects of the medication on your blood.
  • Rest for the first day after the procedure and slowly resume activities over the next three days. Do not exercise or lift objects weighing more than 10 pounds.
  • Do not drive or perform any exercise until your doctor says it is OK.
  • You will have bruising at the puncture site. If you notice any bleeding, lie flat and apply pressure to the site for 15 minutes. Remain flat for the next hour. If the bleeding continues for more than 15 minutes, have someone drive you to the closest emergency department.
  • If you notice a sudden increase in swelling at the puncture site, this could indicate active internal bleeding. This is an emergency and 911 should be called immediately.

Aneurysm Coiling Q&A

What does the procedure involve?

Medications are given through an IV to calm the patient. This minimally invasive procedure uses tiny catheters to insert small coils directly into the aneurysm and close it from inside the vessel. The neurovascular surgeon makes a puncture in the patient’s leg and inserts the catheter, guiding it to the site of the aneurysm. The coil, along with a specialized glue, is positioned in place.

Often, the surgeon will pack several coils to fill the opening so that a clot can form and stop the bleeding.

In some cases, an intracranial stent may be used in aneurysms that are difficult to treat with coils alone. A stent (a flexible mesh tube that looks like a tiny chain-link fence) provides a protective support for the coils.

How long is the procedure?

It depends on the complexity of the case and if multiple coils and a stent is used.

How long will I remain at the hospital?

You will have to elevate your leg for several hours. Additionally, bleeding, breathing and heart rate will be monitored. Most patients are discharged the same day, but some are required to stay overnight.

What is the recovery time?

You will feel better within a day, but you should refrain from driving, lifting or exercising until your doctor says it is OK.