Head & Neck Aneurysms
Cerebral aneurysms can occur in anyone at any age, but they are most common in adults age 30-60 and are slightly more common in women than in men. An unruptured cerebral aneurysm can cause problems by putting pressure on a nerve or on surrounding brain tissue, causing pain near the eye, vision changes, numbness, weakness, or paralysis on one side of the face. Many cerebral aneurysms are small and don't cause any problems, but all have the potential to rupture and cause bleeding in the brain. Cerebral aneurysms are considered to be small if they are less than about .4 inches (1.1 cm), and giant if they are over 1 inch (2.5 cm) in size.
Ruptured cerebral aneurysms are medical emergencies and can cause
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding into the area between the brain and the surrounding membrane)
- Paralysis of any part of the body
- Permanent loss of sensation
- Other neurologic deficits (vision changes, loss of speech ability, cognitive decline)
Aneurysms may form in the carotid arteries, which run along the front of the neck and supply blood to the brain. Symptoms of carotid artery aneurysms may include transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) or stroke. Carotid artery aneurysms may also form clots that block blood flow to the brain.
The pressure of the carotid aneurysm on surrounding structures such as veins and nerves can create symptoms as well. These symptoms vary depending upon what is compressed, but may include hoarseness, facial swelling, or difficulty swallowing. Carotid artery aneurysms rarely rupture, but if they do, they are life threatening.
Other Types of Aneurysm
Aneurysms can also form in the femoral artery in the groin, the mesenteric artery in the intestine, and in the splenic artery. In older people, aneurysms tend to occur in areas where the arteries branch and in areas of stress. Femoral aneurysms account for about 20% of peripheral aneurysms. Femoral aneurysms seldom rupture, but they may create blood clots that block blood flow to the lower leg and feet, or the blood clots may break off and travel downward, creating obstruction.
More on this topic
What is an Aneurysm? (VIDEO)
Where Aneurysms Happen
Head & Neck Aneurysms
Symptoms, Tests, and Diagnosis
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Surgery
Cerebral Aneurysm Surgery
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