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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Why should I be concerned?

The aorta is the body's largest artery and carries oxygn-rich blood from the heart to all you vital organs and to your legs and feet. Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) are serious and occur when the wall of your aorta progressively weakens and begins to bulge. An AAA may continue to enlarge and eventually rupture if it is left untreated, causing severe internal bleeding and possibly death. The risk of rupture is directly related to the size (diameter) of the AAA.

Treatment Options

Vascular surgeons are the only physicians treating vascular disease today who can perform all treatment options available, including medical management, minimally invasive endovascular stent graft procedures, and open aneurysm repair. The safest and most appropriate treatment for your AAA will depend on its size, location, and other anatomic factors. Vascular surgeons have been treating AAAs for decades and have pioneered the development of new less invasive approaches such as stent graft repair. Only when you see a vascular surgeon who performs all possible treatment options will you be assured of receiving the care that is most appropriate to your specific condition.

Endovascular Stent Graft

Instead of undergoing direct open repair through an abdominal incision, vascular surgeons can replace the diseased segment of your aorta with a bypass graft through short incisions in the groin. By using catheters placed in the arteries in your groin, the stent graft is delivered into the diseased aortic aneurysm and held in place by stents, avoiding the need to actually suture the graft in place through an open abdominal incision. Patients are given a sedative and a regional anesthesia, or may receive general anesthesia. This treatment results in minimal discomfort and risk, and patients usually can leave the hospital one or two days after the procedure.

Surgical Bypass

If your aneurysm is not suitable for stent graft repair, vascular surgeons will suture a bypass graft in place to replace the diseased aortic aneurysm through an open abdominal incision. With improvements in anesthesia and medical care, open AAA repair has become exceptionally safe in the hands of well-trained vascular surgical specialists. Most patients are able to be discharged from the hospital from the fourth through the seventh day following surgery.


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