Recovery from a brain aneurysm rupture may include intensive care in a hospital, assisted or self-care at home, and rehabilitation programs.
Recovery can also depend on the location and size of the aneurysm, a person’s age and overall health, and the extent of the brain bleed.
This article covers potential recovery times and what to expect during recovery.
The extent of the bleeding will significantly affect the length of recovery. The Lisa Foundation notes that it may take 3–6 weeks to recover fully from a brain aneurysm. However, people may feel fatigued for 12 weeks or more.
Recovery can be different for each person. A person may experience minor or major physical, cognitive, and emotional changes. These changes may be short term or long term.
For example, a person may experience problems with their memory, which can ease over time.
In other cases, a ruptured brain aneurysm may cause long-term problems with a person’s speech and thinking, numbness, and muscle weakness.
After having surgery to treat a ruptured brain aneurysm, a person will likely require a period of recovery in a hospital.
They may need to stay in intensive care for 10–14 days following surgery. This allows healthcare professionals to monitor them for potential complications, such as infection or brain swelling.
A doctor may carry out brain angiography (examination of blood vessels in the brain) to check that treatment of the aneurysm has worked.
Recovery can vary for each person. A person may be able to care for themselves at home or may require assistance. Age and overall health may play a part in how quickly a person recovers.
A person will need to care for surgical wounds and take medications exactly as a doctor prescribes. For example, a doctor may prescribe antiseizure medications.
According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, if a person’s surgery includes a groin incision, they will need to avoid strenuous activities and hot baths for 1 week after surgery.
People may also experience the following side effects from treatment, some of which may last for several weeks:
- pain and numbness from a craniotomy incision
- hearing loss, which may ease over time
- jaw pain, which may ease over time and with jaw exercises
- a clicking noise in the head, which indicates the bone healing
- temporary hair loss
- changes in taste or smell
- headache, which may vary in intensity
- vision problems
- lower back pain
Fatigue is common with recovery, and it may take months for people to return to their typical activity level. People will need to talk with a doctor to find out when they can return to driving.
Some people may require rehabilitation. They can discuss a rehabilitation program and when it may begin with their healthcare team.
After a person is able to resume work and everyday tasks, such as driving, shopping, and leisure activities, outpatient rehabilitation may be a suitable option.
Rehabilitation after a brain aneurysm can vary for each individual and their condition. It
Depending on the level of rehabilitation required, therapy may take place at an inpatient or outpatient facility. Some people may be able to live at home and travel to a day center for services.
Self-care may help ease certain side effects of treatment. For example, heating pads and stretching may help to ease lower back pain. Eating fiber and drinking plenty of fluids may help ease constipation.
The Brain Aneurysm Foundation notes that exercises can help to ease jaw pain as a result of surgery. They suggest that individuals open and close their mouth 10 times, four or five times a day, gradually opening the jaw wider. If jaw pain continues past 6 weeks, people may require physical therapy.
To help process the emotional effects of treatment and recovery, a person may find journaling beneficial. Mindfulness, music, or creative activities may also be therapeutic.
Follow-up care may depend on the type of surgery. To treat an aneurysm, a surgeon may perform surgical clipping or coiling.
After surgical clipping, in which a surgeon applies a small clip to the aneurysm, people may have an angiogram during hospital recovery to check the clipping has worked.
After coiling, in which a surgeon inserts a flexible coil into the aneurysm to block it off from the artery, people may have a follow-up angiogram
Individuals may be able to find support from the people around them, support groups, and online communities.
People may find the following resources helpful:
- Brain Aneurysm Foundation for resources and finding a local support group
- Lisa Foundation, which provides brain aneurysm information, survivor stories, and support groups
- Joe Niekro Foundation for resources and support groups
Steps to help prevent another aneurysm may include:
- avoiding smoking and recreational drugs, if applicable
- avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, if applicable
- eating a balanced, nutritious diet
- getting regular exercise
- managing high blood pressure
Learn about brain aneurysm prevention.
What is the chance a person will develop another aneurysm?
The American Stroke Association notes that there is a
Once a person has undergoing treatment for an aneurysm, the Brain Aneurysm Foundation states that the risk of the aneurysm rupturing is almost zero.
Learn about potential causes of a ruptured cerebral aneurysm.
The outlook for a ruptured brain aneurysm may depend on various factors, including:
- the location and size of the aneurysm
- a person’s age and overall health
- neurological conditions from the hemorrhage (brain bleed)
If the hemorrhage is severe, it may lead to severe outcomes, such as coma or even death.
According to a 2023 overview of research, mortality rates may be as high as
Among people who survive a ruptured brain aneurysm, around 66% may have a permanent neurological condition.
People will need to contact a doctor if they experience the following during recovery:
- a large, hard blood clot at the site of a groin incision
- increased pain or swelling around an incision
- vision problems that do not ease over time
- persistent bleeding or signs of infection
- headaches that persist for several weeks
A person needs to call 911 or their local emergency number if they develop a sudden, severe headache.
Recovery from a brain aneurysm can vary for each person and may depend on the extent of the rupture and any neurological problems.
Following the advice of healthcare professionals, self-care, and rehabilitation programs may help in recovery.