Wide-neck aneurysms: systematic review of the neurosurgical literature with a focus on definition and clinical implications

J Neurosurg 133:159–165, 2020

Wide-necked aneurysms (WNAs) are a variably defined subset of cerebral aneurysms that require more advanced endovascular and microsurgical techniques than those required for narrow-necked aneurysms. The neurosurgical literature includes many definitions of WNAs, and a systematic review has not been performed to identify the most commonly used or optimal definition. The purpose of this systematic review was to highlight the most commonly used definition of WNAs.

METHODS The authors searched PubMed for the years 1998–2017, using the terms “wide neck aneurysm” and “broad neck aneurysm” to identify relevant articles. All results were screened for having a minimum of 30 patients and for clearly stating a definition of WNA. Reference lists for all articles meeting the inclusion criteria were also screened for eligibility.

RESULTS The search of the neurosurgical literature identified 809 records, of which 686 were excluded (626 with < 30 patients; 60 for lack of a WNA definition), leaving 123 articles for analysis. Twenty-seven unique definitions were identified and condensed into 14 definitions. The most common definition was neck size ≥ 4 mm or dome-to-neck ratio < 2, which was used in 49 articles (39.8%). The second most commonly used definition was neck size ≥ 4 mm, which was used in 26 articles (21.1%). The rest of the definitions included similar parameters with variable thresholds. There was inconsistent reporting of the precise dome measurements used to determine the dome-to-neck ratio. Digital subtraction angiography was the only imaging modality used to study the aneurysm morphology in 87 of 122 articles (71.3%).

CONCLUSIONS The literature has great variability regarding the definition of a WNA. The most prevalent definition is a neck diameter of ≥ 4 mm or a dome-to-neck ratio of < 2. Whether this is the most appropriate and clinically useful definition is an area for future study.