Frequency and risk factors for postoperative aneurysm residual after microsurgical clipping

Kathrin Obermueller, Isabel Hostettler, Arthur Wagner, Tobias Boeckh-Behrens, Claus Zimmer, Jens Gempt, Bernhard Meyer, Maria Wostrack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: Aneurysm residuals after clipping are a well-known problem, but the course of aneurysm remnants in follow-up is not well studied. No standards or follow-up guidelines exist for treatment of aneurysm remnants. The aim of this study was to evaluate the risk factors for postoperative aneurysm remnants and their changes during follow-up. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of 666 aneurysms treated via clipping in our hospital from 2006 to 2016. Postoperative and follow-up angiographic data were analyzed for aneurysm remnants and regrowth. Clinical parameters and aneurysm-specific characteristics were correlated with radiological results. Results: The frequency of aneurysm residuals was 12% (78/666). Aneurysms located in the middle cerebral artery (p = 0.02) showed a significantly lower risk for incomplete aneurysm occlusion. Larger aneurysms with a diameter of 11–25 mm (p = 0.005) showed a significantly higher risk for incomplete aneurysm occlusion. Five patients underwent re-clipping during the same hospital stay. Remnants were stratified based on morphological characteristics into “dog ears” (n = 60) and “broad based” (n = 13). The majority of the “dog ears” stayed stable, decreased in size, or vanished during follow-up. Broad-based remnants showed a higher risk of regrowth. Conclusions: A middle cerebral artery location seems to lower the risk for the incomplete clip occlusion of an aneurysm. Greater aneurysm size (11–25 mm) is associated with a postoperative aneurysm remnant. The majority of “dog-ear” remnants appear to remain stable during follow-up. In these cases, unnecessarily frequent angiographic checks could be avoided. By contrast, broad-based residuals show a higher risk of regrowth that requires close imaging controls if retreatment cannot be performed immediately.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-138
Number of pages8
JournalActa Neurochirurgica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Aneurysm clipping
  • Aneurysm regrowth
  • Aneurysm remnant
  • Aneurysm residual
  • Intracranial aneurysm


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