Used to treat an aneurysm—a weak portion of a blood vessel (usually occurring at the point it branches out) that leads to a bulging of that vessel that can rupture or break open without warning—aneurysm clipping utilizes a small metal clip that is attached by a surgeon to the base of aneurysm, effectively stopping any leakage of blood into the brain or cranial cavity.

Once under general anesthesia, a patient’s head is immobilized and a surgeon makes an incision in the scalp above the site of the aneurysm. After the skull is exposed, a small hole is drilled out in order to remove a section of the bone and skull flap. The outermost membrane—the dura—is also opened, allowing isolation of and access to the problem blood vessel. The metal clip is then installed on the aneurysm to block the flow of any blood through the vessel.

Replacing the skull flap, which is secured back in place with a plate and screws, the flap of scalp is resealed with sutures or staples and the patient is moved to a post-operative intensive care unit, where they typically remain for several days as physicians observe the status of the aneurysm to ensure it has been completely blocked and there is no blood leakage.

Relief from symptoms and recovery is usually rapid, and a patient is able to return to normal daily activities within a relatively short amount of time.