Occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) by an intraluminal filament is widely used to study focal brain ischemia in male Sprague-Dawley rats. However, permanent occlusion goes along with a high fatality. To overcome this drawback we designed a new filament carrying a bowling pin-shaped tip (BP-tip) and compared this with three conventionally tipped filaments. Follow-up periods were 24 h ( all groups) and 72 and 120 h in BP-tip group. Ischemic damage and swelling were quantified using silver nitrate staining. Collateral flow via the posterior cerebral artery (PCA) was assessed using selective dye perfusion of the internal carotid artery. Despite a comparable decrease of brain perfusion in all groups, ischemic damage was significantly smaller in BP-tips (p <0.05). Moreover, BP-tip significantly reduced mortality from 60% to 12.5% and widely spared the occipital region and hypothalamus from ischemic damage. Conventional but not BP-tip filaments induced vascular distortion, measured as gross displacement of the MCA origin, which correlated with occipital infarction size. Accordingly, BP-tip occluded rats showed a significantly better collateral filling of the PCA territory. Ischemic volume significantly increased in BP-tip occlusion at 72 h follow-up. BP-tip filaments offer superior survival in permanent MCA occlusion, while mimicking the course of a malignant stroke in patients.