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Brain Aneurysm Awareness UK
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Unmanageable pain and double vision post coil embolization of aneurysm, is this common?

Hello everyone, thank you again for answering my questions prior to this coil embolization procedure. Upon waking up from the procedure, I had double vision and unbelievable, unmanageable pain that I am still fighting. Unfortunately, we are 18 days post-surgery, via angiogram through my artery vs open brain. I have a very high pain tolerance and I never expected to be in this much pain, never. The only way the hospital could manage the pain was morphine and oxycodone together, but they will only allow one of these medicines at time, at home for safety reasons. I have discussed going back into the hospital to manage the pain, but I just don’t know……

I have seen my Eye Doc and I have significant differences in my left eye (the aneurysm is behind that eye, and resting on part of the optical nerve). Had to add new prisms vertical and horizontal and increase strength and something else too, none of these things were there 3 months ago at the time of my yearly exam or prior to surgery. I also have a new, what I call a blue submarine in the bottom left corner of my eye, which moves with my eye that is new as well. The Eye Doc said that the double vision or he called it “ghosting” is new and unsure why this is occurring. He did order new lenses for my glasses, to try to see if they help but he was not sure if they would.

The neurosurgeon seemed to have “no clue” why all of this is happening. The Doc’s medical assistant keeps saying that people never feel the brain aneurysm so I should not be feeling anything different. Well, I have felt this brain aneurysm since 5/2015 and from prior CT has been there since 2/2014 and not diagnosed till 8/3/17. If I felt it prior to the surgery, I expected some pain post-surgery, but not this not a 10 out of 10 all the time. I have a follow up with the neurosurgeon tomorrow, and am hopeful for a path to go on to find out why I am in this pain, so we can treat the cause so I can get out of it, but I just don’t know.

Is this double vision, a funky image and uncontrollable pain common after this procedure? Does it go away? I am truly wishing I never had this surgery, it has made my life miserable. Thank you for your help in advance. Bear Hugs!

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Oh so sorry to read this I don’t have any answers for you I haven’t had any surgery. I hope the doctors can help You tomorrow when you see them.

Keep me informed on how you get on will be thinking of you xx

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Thank you for the reply and good thoughts! Will keep ya posted!

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Hi Martha2

I had Flow Diverter treatment for my annie as it was too wide to be coiled. I suffered with migraine level pain from about 6 hours post procedure for a further 4or 5 weeks. I was kept in hospital for a week because of the pain, then sent home with a bucketload of codeine. I spent a good 2 weeks at home in bed in agony and kep taking painkillers for at least a couple of weeks longer. As a lifelong migraineur who gets cluster migraines I am kind of used to it, but it was incredibly trying even so. I just kept taking the tablets....eventuaĺly it subsided.

As to the eye problems I can't report anything that severe - I get occasional blurring or frosting of my left field of vision and some floaters, but as the part of the annie on my opthalmic artery did not occlude, but still could at any time, potentially taking the artery with it, I am always alert to vision problems. Unlike you I was expecting it as a side-effect of my procedure (partial blindness was a risk I was prepared to face in my search for certainty). I do think it is quite common to have vision defects post op and it is not something everyone is warned about.

It may be your optic nerve has been disturbed during the procedure as annies close to the eye do run this risk. In my case such damage was a given, and that together with a risk to the speech centre of my brain was the main reason my consultant surgeon refused to operate on me. The risk of damage is significantly less with a vascular procedure but can never be completely ruled out. I went in expecting to come out of it all partially blind as I was told it was quite likely...

You are still only just through surgery - things may settle. If not, give yourself lots of time to adjust. Before my procedure the one thing I was sure of was that living with an annie would drive me insane. 18 months on, with my annie deflated but still very much there (which is why I can still see) I find my emotional response to it has shifted dramatically. It is my daily reminder of what an amazing gift life is, and having prepared myself for the very real possibility of death on that operating table 18 months ago my approach to my own mortality has shifted too. It may be that your sight problems persist. In that case there will be adjustments you will need to make. It would be worth seeking out others whose procedures or other brain injury have resulted in vision inpairment and I would suggest the Headway site as a good place to start. I know when I was preparing myself for potential post-procedure eye-patches and the like there were a few people there who were able to reassure and give advice.

For the headaches do try hot and cold packs, and also shoulder and neck massages. I also suffer with ocular neuralgia, caused by muscles in the neck and upper back intermittently trapping the ocular nerve as it travels from the spinal column up over the brain and across to the eye. Standard painkillers including codeine don't touch this nerve pain. I am fortunate to have a (diminishing 😕) supply of nerve-acting drugs from a previous prescription but apart from that the packs and neck massage and exercises do help.

Sending you prayers for a swift recovery from pain and clarity about what is going on and can be done to address the eye issues.

Best wishes

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Oh dear. I am sorry to hear you're in a bad way. I'm waiting for this surgery and my aneurysm is resting on my optic nerve also so feeling a bit concerned now. I hope that this is just temporary and will settle down in a few weeks /months. When I had a fit 8 months ago I had terrible headaches for four months. I thought it was the aneurysm causing them but now think it may just have been the trauma to my brain.

Please keep us updated

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