Deakin University

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Clipping versus coiling: A critical re-examination of a decades old controversy

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-16, 03:42 authored by M Nasra, Julian MaingardJulian Maingard, J Hall, G Mitreski, H Kuan Kok, PD Smith, JH Russell, A Jhamb, DM Brooks, Hamed AsadiHamed Asadi
Background Two major studies, The International Subarachnoid Aneurysm Trial and the Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial, compare the long-term outcomes of clipping and coiling. Although these demonstrated coiling’s initial benefits, rebleeding and retreatment rates as well as converging patient outcomes sparked controversy regarding its durability. This article will critically examine the available evidence for and against clipping and coiling of intracranial aneurysms. Critics of endovascular treatment state that the initial benefit seen with endovascular coiling decreases over the duration of follow-up and eventually functional outcomes of both treatment modalities are similar. Combined with the increased rate of retreatment and rebleeding, these trials reveal that coiling is not as durable and not as effective as a long-term treatment compared to clipping. Also, due to the cost of devices following endovascular treatment and prolonged hospitalization following clipping, the financial burden has been considered controversial. Summary/Key Messages Short-term outcomes reveal better morbidity and mortality outcomes following coiling. Despite the higher rates of retreatment and rebleeding with coiling, there was no significant change in functional outcomes following retreatment. Furthermore, examining more recent trials reveals a decreased rate of recurrence and rebleeding with improved technology and expertise. Functional outcomes deteriorate for both cohorts over time while recent results revealed improved long-term cognitive outcomes and levels of health-related quality of life after coiling in comparison to clipping. The expense of longer hospital stays following clipping must be balanced against the expense of endovascular devices in coiling.



Interventional Neuroradiology


United States







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal