MINNEAPOLIS - A new procedure at a Twin Cities hospital is giving people hope that until now had no option for treating their aneurysms.
Abbott Northwesternis now treating what are called giant aneurysms without having to open the skull.
Toni Jo Almstedt of Two Harbors lived with an un-ruptured aneurysm in her brain for 20 years. Then she said this fall, "I started getting double vision."
"This is her eye right here toward the front and right behind her eye there is an aneurysm."
Located right behind her eye, she had what is called a giant aneurysm.
While non-life threatening, Dr. Josser Delgado of Abbott Northwestern Hospital said Almstedt's aneurysm began pressing on her optic nerve, but it could not be treated like smaller aneurysms or with traditional brain surgery.
Delgado said, "An open head surgery in her case would not be a good alternative because unfortunately the aneurysm is so close to the nerves that go to her eye."
So in mid-November, Almstedt was one of the first three patients in the Twin Cities to have a brand new non-invasive technique at Abbott.
She said, "They wanted me to have the surgery if I would allow it and I said,'That's wonderful!'"
Delgado said, "This device was designed and developed in large part to treat aneurysms like hers."
It's called the Pipeline Embolization Device.
Delgado continued, "It's somewhat similar to delivering a stent which we do on a routine basis."
Fed through an artery in the leg into the brain, the mesh Pipeline Embolization Device is placed across the neck of the aneurysm to redirect blood flow, slowing and eventually stopping the blood feeding the aneurysm, causing it to clot and resorb into the body.
After having the procedure, Almstedt said she felt good and hoped to eventually get rid of her double vision.
She said, "It will gradually get better but it will take maybe months for the aneurysm to go down."
But even if her vision doesn't improve, she's glad that her vision at least should not get worse. And she's happy doctors finally had a treatment for her.
She said of the procedure, "It was like manna from heaven."