by Scholten A
(Endovascular Coil Embolization)


Endovascular coil embolization is a procedure to treat an aneurysm. It uses a metal coil to prevent bleeding or a rupture. It may also fix a ruptured aneurysm.

This may also be called endovascular coil embolization.

Reasons for Procedure

Endovascular coil embolization prevents a brain aneurysm from causing more damage. It will not fix damaged areas of the brain. But, it can improve quality of life by stopping bleeding.

Brain Aneurysm
An aneurysm is a weakened blood vessel in the brain that collects blood. The bulging, blood-filled pocket can put pressure on parts of the brain, pressing on nearby nerves. This can cause symptoms or cause the blood vessel to rupture (hemorrhage).
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Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will talk about possible problems such as:

  • Problems from anesthesia
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Damage to other organs or structures
  • Stroke
  • Seizures, confusion, memory loss

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

The care team may meet with you to talk about:

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
  • Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Whether you need a ride to and from surgery
  • Tests that will need to be done before the procedure


The doctor will give local anesthesia—the area will be numbed. You may have medicine to help you relax.

Description of the Procedure

An incision will be made near the groin or upper thigh. A thin, hollow tube will be inserted into the artery wall. The tube is used to guide a wire. The wire goes through the artery to the brain. X-rays will be used to direct the tube to the aneurysm. A dye is placed to outline the aneurysm. A smaller tube with platinum coils will be moved to the site. The coils fill and block the aneurysm.

The catheter will be taken out. The incision will be closed and bandaged.

How Long Will It Take?

1 to 2 hours, maybe more

Will It Hurt?

There may be some pain and discomfort after the procedure. It can be managed with medicine.

Average Hospital Stay

Normally, the length of stay is 1 to 2 days. If there are problems you may need to stay longer.

Post-procedure Care

At the Hospital

During your stay, the healthcare staff will take steps to lower your risk of infection such as:

  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing gloves or masks
  • Keeping your incisions covered.

There are also steps you can take to lower your risk of infection such as:

  • Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and staff to do the same
  • Reminding staff to wear gloves or masks
  • Not letting others touch your incision
At Home

Recovery may take 3 to 6 weeks. Some activities may be limited during this time. You may also need physical therapy.

Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Fever or chills
  • Redness, swelling, excess bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
  • Lasting nausea or vomiting
  • Pain that you cannot control with the medicines
  • Problems with thinking, balance, or movement
  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling
  • Headaches, fainting, vision problems, or problems passing urine or stool (poop)
  • Pain, swelling, or cramping in your legs

Call for medical help right away for:

  • Seizures
  • Problems breathing
  • Chest pain

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.


Brain Aneurysm Foundation 

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke 


Brain Injury Canada 

Heart and Stroke Foundation 


Cerebral aneurysm. American Association of Neurological Surgeons website. Available at: Accessed September 3, 2021.

Rinkel GJE. Management of patients with unruptured intracranial aneurysms. Curr Opin Neurol. 2019;32(1):49-53.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed September 3, 2021.

Treatment of brain aneurysm. The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation website. Available at: Accessed September 3, 2021.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Nicole Meregian, PA
  • Review Date: 07/2021
  • Update Date: 09/03/2021