Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Neurosurgeons at Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital are among a handful of surgeons nationwide treating complex large, giant and wide-neck brain aneurysms with the new, minimally invasive Pipeline Embolization Device.
Millard Fillmore Gates is the only hospital in upstate New York and one of approximately ten hospitals nationwide that perform this procedure. Millard Gates surgeons Elad Levy, MD, FACS, FAHA and Adnan Siddiqui, MD, PhD, also train surgeons from around the country, including those from the Cleveland Clinic, Harvard and Duke, in this lifesaving treatment.
The Pipeline Embolization Device, which was unanimously approved by the FDA earlier this year, resembles a flexible mesh tube and is made of platinum and cobalt chromium. The procedure begins with surgeons making a small incision in the patient’s groin area.
They then advance the Pipeline Device through the femoral artery to the area of the vessel where the aneurysm has formed. Once the Pipeline Embolization Device is in place, the normal path of blood flow is re-established.
“An aneurysm is a bulge or blood-filled ballooning at a weak point in an artery,” says Elad Levy, MD, director of Endovascular Stroke Service for the Gates Stroke Center. “The Pipeline Embolization Device basically rebuilds the arterial wall from the inside out. Over the course of time, tissue grows around the Pipeline Device, which will form a permanent, biological barrier to blood flow to the aneurysm; curing the patient and eliminating the risk of recurrence or stroke.”
In April of this year, Jennifer Shields wasn’t feeling well. “I had hiccups that wouldn’t stop, trouble speaking and my limbs felt heavy,” says Shields. “I knew something was wrong so I went to my doctor and she ordered an MRI.” The results were a shock to the 34 year-old Chicago resident. She was diagnosed as having a giant fusiform aneurysm; a right middle cerebral aneurysm.
Shields sought advice from a family friend-who happened to be a neurosurgeon-and together they began the arduous task of researching treatment options. They made several phone calls, sent copies of her films to hospitals and medical centers around the country and came to learn of the work being done at Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital by Dr. Levy and his team.
After an initial phone call, Shields and her husband Kevin flew to Buffalo to meet Dr. Levy, flew home to discuss their visit with family members in Chicago and then scheduled her surgery.
“Jennifer’s aneurysm was extremely complex,” says Levy. “But she’s doing very well since the surgery and is expected to make a complete recovery.”
Dr. Levy was one of approximately 20 co-investigators worldwide on the Pipeline for Uncoilable or Failed Aneurysms (PUFS) trial—an ongoing, 5-year clinical study of patients with large or giant aneurysms of the carotid artery treated with Pipeline Embolization Device.
“The Pipeline Device is a complete game changer in the treatment of aneurysms,” says Levy. “We’ve done approximately 30 Pipeline Device procedures so far and the results have been outstanding for our patients.”
It is estimated that between five and seven percent of people in the United States will develop a brain aneurysm during their lifetime. While an aneurysm can occur at any age, they are most commonly detected in women between the ages of 35 and 60.
As many as 60% of people with an unruptured brain aneurysm have no symptoms, but others may complain of vision, speech, memory, or perceptual deficits, among other symptoms. If an aneurysm ruptures, symptoms can include severe headache, nausea, vomiting, and stiff neck just to name a few.