Current results of the surgical management of aneurysms of the basilar apex

Duke Samson, H. Hunt Batjer, Thomas A. Kopitnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To provide current information regarding the expected clinical outcomes and sources of morbidity and mortality in the modern surgical management of basilar apex aneurysms. METHOD: A retrospective review was conducted of 303 cases of such aneurysms that were treated surgically during 18 years at one institution. Postoperative angiography was performed in 81% of the cases. Clinical grading using the Glasgow Outcome Scale was conducted at the time of hospital discharge and for 91% of the surviving patients at 6 months after surgery. The preoperative parameters that were linked statistically to poor clinical outcome were identified through the use of single and multivariate analyses. RESULTS: More than 80% of the patients were operated on using some modification of the trans-sylvian exposure, and temporary arterial occlusion was used routinely. Good outcomes (Glasgow Outcome Scale scores of 4 or 5) were achieved in 76% of the patients at the time of discharge and in 81% of the patients at 6 months after surgery. There was no incidence of postoperative subarachnoid hemorrhage. Residual aneurysm was revealed by postoperative angiography in 6% of the cases. Factors found to be statistically linked to poor outcome included poor admission grade (Hunt and Hess Grades IV and V), patient age older than 65 years, computed tomographic demonstration of thick basal cistern clot, aneurysm size greater than 20 mm, and symptoms attributable to brain stem compression. CONCLUSION: Direct microsurgical repair of basilar apex aneurysms should result in good clinical outcomes in 80 to 85% of cases, with reliable prevention of subarachnoid bleeding and routine elimination/reduction of symptoms secondary to mass effect. Those patients who are at high risk for poor outcomes can be identified by the presence of certain clinical, radiographic, and demographic features before undergoing surgery and can be considered for alternative or adjunctive modes of therapy if long-term efficacy of such treatment is demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-704
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1999


  • Aneurysm
  • Basilar
  • Mass effect
  • Microsurgery
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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