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Healthy You

Advanced Neurosurgery Technique Eliminates Aneurysm Danger

Friday, November 22, 2019 10:01 AM

When Laura Sindles began experiencing strange numbness in her neck and jaw, she immediately sought medical attention. But she had no idea the mystery condition would lead to an accidental finding that would save her life.

A CT scan to evaluate the sudden numbness revealed that Sindles had a brain aneurysm—a bulge that forms in a blood vessel of the brain that can lead to severe health issues and possibly death. The finding was especially alarming for Sindles, whose grandmother died from an aneurysm.

Laura Sindles

Expert Guidance
The 50-year-old Sindles quickly sought the expertise of NorthShore Neurological Institute Neurosurgeon Shakeel Chowdhry, MD, who has pioneered new minimally invasive technologies to more safely and accurately secure aneurysms inside the brain, resulting in faster recovery and improved outcomes for patients.

Dr. Chowdhry initially ordered new imaging at NorthShore to confirm the earlier CT findings, and met with Sindles to discuss her options for repairing the dangerous aneurysm.

“Dr. Chowdhry was very confident and knowledgeable,” relayed Sindles. “He explained where the aneurysm was, how big it was and answered every question my husband and I had. It put both of us at ease.”

Wired Up with New Technique
Given the size and location of Sindles’ aneurysm, she was an ideal candidate for an advanced new option available at NorthShore using the Woven EndoBridge (WEB) aneurysm embolization system. In the minimally invasive procedure, the WEB device—a sphere of woven wires—is inserted into an artery in the groin. It is then threaded up into the aneurysm where it forms to its shape and holds in place so that it prevents blood flow into the aneurysm and allows the vessel wall to heal.

“The device sits entirely inside the aneurysm, rather than putting anything in the parent artery as traditional flow devices do,” explained Dr. Chowdhry, who holds an academic appointment at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

The WEB system was recently approved by the FDA, and Dr. Chowdhry is one of only a few Chicagoland neurosurgeons trained on the advanced technology. Sindles was one of the first patients in Illinois to undergo the sophisticated repair on June 3. She spent one night in the hospital and went home the next day with only Tylenol.

Living the Dream
“Dr. Chowdhry is truly amazing, and everyone at NorthShore was so caring,” noted Sindles. “I’m so thankful for everything that’s happened, I feel like I have a guardian angel that led me to him.”

Sindles also had high praise for Dr. Chowdhry’s team, including office staff who helped coordinate insurance coverage and ensure that her procedure went as scheduled. “They really went above and beyond to get this done for me.”

The whole experience was so life-changing for Sindles and her husband that they moved from their longtime residence in Antioch, to a new dream home on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. “We’ve been talking about this for years, and when all of this happened we thought ‘what are we waiting for?’ Now we have our own little slice of paradise here. We’re so blessed!”

Patients like Sindles will continue to benefit from the leading-edge treatments and technology offered by Dr. Chowdhry and other surgeons at NorthShore Neurological Institute. Dr. Chowdhry noted that WEB devices in the future will be inserted through the wrist.

“It’s great that we’re able to help people like Laura and allow them to go home the next morning feeling like themselves and without the risk of an aneurysm,” added Dr. Chowdhry.