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Neurosurgery. 2003 Jun;52(6):1280-7; discussion 1287-90.

Surgical clipping may lead to better results than coil embolization: results from a series of 101 consecutive unruptured intracranial aneurysms.

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Department of Neurosurgery, St-Luc Hospital, Université Catholique de Louvain, Avenue Hippocrate, 1200 Brussels, Belgium.



Recent reports in the literature have described a significant discrepancy in adverse outcomes between coil embolization (CE; 10%) and surgical clipping (SC; 25%) for the management of unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIA). This discrepancy led us to analyze our experience.


In 1996, we designed a prospective study of patients with UIA in which CE was considered the treatment of choice and was performed if the interventional neuroradiologists deemed the aneurysm's fundus-to-neck ratio accessible for CE. SC was performed only if complete CE was unlikely to be achieved or in patients in whom CE already had failed.


CE was performed in 38 patients with at least one UIA (41 UIAs, 83% in the anterior circulation). SC was performed in 39 patients with at least one UIA unsuitable for CE (59 UIAs, including 6 after failed CE, 96.5% in the anterior circulation). For CE, the total obliteration rate was 56.1%, the subtotal was 14.6%, and CE failed in 29.3%. There were transient complications in 10% of the cases and permanent complications in 7.5%. Of the 12 failed CE procedures, 7 (58%) were performed for middle cerebral artery aneurysms. For SC, the total obliteration rate was 93.2%, the subtotal was 1.7%, and SC failed (wrapping) in 5.1%. There were transient complications in 16.3% of the patients and permanent complications in 1.7%. The success rate for CE was similar to that for SC only when CE was used for aneurysms with a fundus-to-neck ratio of at least 2.5.


SC can produce better results than CE in patients with UIA of the anterior circulation. CE as a first-line treatment should be reserved for patients with UIAs with a fundus-to-neck ratio of 2.5 or greater.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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