LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – It’s the type of brain bleed medical experts say killed comedian Bob Saget in January. A subdural hematoma can happen when someone falls and hits their head or if an aneurysm ruptures. In one in four patients, even after surgery, the brain bleed will return. But there is a new treatment that is keeping brains safe and people alive.

Horace Mitchell spent his life in education. With a Ph.D. in Black studies, he went on to teach and run universities, retiring as president of California State University, Bakersfield. But then, a fall in his garage threatened to end it all.

“I ended up falling backwards and I hit my head on the side of the refrigerator,” Mitchell explained.

He was confused and unsteady—sure signs something was wrong. Doctors diagnosed Mitchell with a subdural hematoma, which is a type of brain bleed.

Neurosurgeon Sumeet Vadera said that is when blood accumulates on the surface of the brain. Vadera says traditionally, surgeons would drill a hole into the skull and drain the fluid. But many times, more blood accumulates, and a second surgery is needed. Dr. Vadera is the first to successfully treat a patient using a new system, called IRRAflow.

“During the surgery, you would make a small window in the bone, then, you place a catheter into the area where the blood clot was,” Dr. Vadera explained.

For one to two days after surgery, it continuously irrigates and aspirates the area, draining any excess blood.

“It has actually helped save us from having to put the patient through another surgery,” Dr. Vadera added.

Dr. Vadera says he’s not had any patients, including Mitchell, who needed a second surgery after rehab and physical therapy.

Mitchell says he is doing well physically and mentally following his surgery.

An estimated 6.5 million people in the United States have an unruptured brain aneurysm. A brain aneurysm ruptures every 18 minutes. If a brain bleed is not treated, there is a high risk of stroke and death.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer, Editor.

To receive a free weekly e-mail on medical breakthroughs from Ivanhoe, sign up at: http://www.ivanhoe.com/ftk