This health video will focus on the medical procedures of brain bypass surgery.
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Jennifer Matthews: As a photographer, Richard Smith needs constant focus. Today, he only has a scar to show up for the speech problems, numbness and headaches that made his life a blur. Richard Smith: Very unique headache, my whole head, it's starting on the outside and it was very uniform, drawing right into the center. Jennifer Matthews: Richard had an aneurysm, a blood vessel in his brain had weakened and formed a pocket that filled with blood. This computer image of Richard's head shows just how massive the aneurysm was. Dr. Neil Martin: This is the widest single aneurysm that I have seen. It measured more than 9 centimeters in its largest diameter, that is more than three inches across. Jennifer Matthews: UCLA's Dr. Neil Martin had to cut off the blood supply to the bloated vessel, but first he needed to redirect the blood flow to prevent Richard from having a stroke. Dr. Neil Martin: One takes a scalp artery and then implants it, sutures it directly to a brain artery and that forms a conduit that bypasses the area where the aneurysm is blocked off. Jennifer Matthews: In Richard's case Dr. Martin had to redirect two separate arteries making Richard one of only a handful of people to undergo a so called double-barrel brain bypass operation. Dr. Neil Martin: And how is your reading, have you been able to read? Jennifer Matthews: Today Richard's prognosis is good. As he recovers, he says, he can't stop thinking about the rare operation that saved his life. Richard Smith: I haven't stopped being amazed. Jennifer Matthews: This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.