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Aortic Aneurysm Repair

An aortic aneurysm is a bulge or ballooning out of a section of the aorta and this bulge may rupture causing internal bleeding and other complications. Aortic aneurysm repair is surgery done to fix aortic aneurysm.

The types of aortic aneurysm repair procedures include:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm repair (AAA repair) involves fixing an aortic aneurysm that occurs in the part of your aorta in your abdomen. This is the most common type of aortic aneurysm.
  • Thoracic aortic aneurysm repair involves fixing an aortic aneurysm that occurs in the part of your aorta in your chest.

A vascular surgeon or a thoracic surgeon performs aortic aneurysm repair in a hospital. The surgeon uses one of the following approaches to repair an aortic aneurysm:

  • Minimally invasive surgery or endovascular surgery: This procedure involves inserting a catheter and guide wire through an artery in your groin or leg to the aortic aneurysm. The catheter tip has a deflated synthetic graft which expands like a spring once the catheter is in place and the blood flows through the graft. This graft reinforces the walls of the aorta. Endovascular surgery generally involves a faster recovery, less pain, and less risk of complications than open surgery.
  • Open surgery: This procedure involves making a large incision in the chest or abdomen. The surgeon removes the weakened part of the aorta and replaces it with a synthetic graft or he might cut open the aneurysm and place the graft inside. Open surgery allows the doctor to directly view and access the surgical area. Open surgery generally involves a longer recovery, a higher risk of complications, and more pain than minimally invasive surgery and it also causes more trauma to tissues and organs.

The most common cause of aortic aneurysms is

  • Atherosclerosis (a buildup of plaque inside arteries)
  • Congenital defects
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Trauma

The doctor may recommend aortic aneurysm repair if your aneurysm is:

  • Causing symptoms: Most aortic aneurysms do not produce symptoms but when symptoms like abdominal pain, chest pain, low back pain, the sensation of feeling your heartbeat in your abdomen, coughing, hoarseness, and difficulty breathing occur then it is a sign that the aortic aneurysm is about to burst.
  • Growing rapidly
  • Interfering with blood flow to other areas of your body
  • Leaking blood into the layers of the walls of your aorta
  • If it ruptures or bursts