The use of balloons in the field of neurosurgery is currently an essential part of our clinical practice. The field has evolved over the last 40 years since Serbinenko used balloons to test the feasibility of occluding cervical vessels for intracranial pathologies. Since that time, indications have expanded to include sacrificing cervical and intracranial vessels with detachable balloons, supporting the coil mass in wide-necked aneurysms (balloon remodeling technique), and performing intracranial and cervical angioplasty for atherosclerotic disease, as well as an adjunct to treat arteriovenous malformations. With the rapid expansion of endovascular technologies, it appears that the indications and uses for balloons will continue to expand. In this article, we review the history of balloons, the initial applications, the types of balloons available, and the current applications available for endovascular neurosurgeons.
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