Cerebral Aneurysm Specialist

David Newell, MD

Cerebrovascular, Spinal, and Brain Tumor Neurosurgery located in Bellevue, WA

Approximately one in 50 Americans has an unruptured cerebral aneurysm, a weakened blood vessel in the brain that can burst if left untreated. David Newell, MD is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in the treatment of cerebral aneurysms. To learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of this potentially life-threatening condition, call Dr. Newell’s Seattle practice in Washington or schedule an appointment online.

Cerebral Aneurysm Q & A

What is a cerebral aneurysm?

A cerebral aneurysm, or a brain aneurysm, is a blister-like bulge in a weak part of a blood vessel in your brain. When left untreated, the blood pressure in this area can cause the vessel wall to grow even weaker, and your aneurysm can grow or even rupture. If an aneurysm bursts, it causes a stroke.

What are the symptoms of a cerebral aneurysm?

When an aneurysm is growing but hasn’t ruptured, it can put pressure on the tissue or nerves in your brain. This pressure can lead to symptoms like:

  • A headache or neck pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Loss of vision
  • Numbness in the face
  • Enlarged pupil size
  • Drooping eyelid
  • Severe drowsiness

If an aneurysm bursts, blood can flow directly into your brain. This causes immediate symptoms such as a severe headache, extremely stiff neck, nausea and vomiting, and double vision. It’s also common to experience mental confusion, dizziness, and fainting — and even to lose consciousness.

Who is at risk of developing a cerebral aneurysm?

Anyone can develop a cerebral aneurysm, but they’re more common in women and typically occur between 40 and 60 years of age. Certain conditions can increase your risk of brain aneurysms, including:

  • A family history of aneurysms
  • Birth defects in your blood vessels
  • Head trauma
  • Certain diseases, infections, and circulatory disorders

Additional factors that can increase your risk of an aneurysm include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption or drug abuse, and high blood pressure.

How is a cerebral aneurysm diagnosed and treated?

Cerebral aneurysms are typically diagnosed using imaging tests, including specialized CT and MRI scans. If Dr. Newell suspects your aneurysm is bleeding into your brain, he might perform a lumbar puncture to check for blood in your spinal fluid.

Based on your diagnosis, Dr. Newell creates a treatment plan to address your unique condition. If your aneurysm is small and isn’t leaking, he might take a wait-and-see approach, closely monitoring your condition. Surgical options for cerebral aneurysms include:

  • Surgical clipping: to block blood flow to the aneurysm
  • Parent vessel occlusion (ligation): to clamp off the entire artery supplying the blood vessel
  • Coiling (embolization): to repair the aneurysm from inside the blood vessel
  • Pipeline™ device (flow diversion): to restore normal blood circulation and heal the diseased blood vessel

Dr. Newell has operated on over 1,500 brain aneurysms and has extensive experience in surgical treatment and endovascular and critical care management.

If you suspect an aneurysm or have a family history of cerebral aneurysms, call David Newell, MD or schedule an appointment online.