Laser Helps Bypass Giant Aneurysm

Today's New York Times has a fascinating article about the use of an unapproved excimer laser to treat a giant brain aneurysm in a very special case. When a brain aneurysm becomes very large, bypass surgery on the affected carotid artery is necessary. Traditionally, an artery is clamped during surgery. But in this one case, the aneurysm was so large that clamping was too risky; there was a good probability that stroke would ensue.

December 19, 2006

1 Min Read
Laser Helps Bypass Giant Aneurysm

So FDA gave the doctor clearance to use the excimer laser system developed by Elana (Utrecht, The Netherlands), which is not approved in the United States but has been used in Europe. The laser allows the doctor to not have to first cut a hole in the brain artery and then sew a vein to it. That would require the clamping that is too risky in this case. Instead, he can sew first and cut later, using the excimer laser to make the hole later. The operation was successful. Kudos to FDA for allowing an experimental treatment when all other options were too risky.

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