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How are abdominal aortic aneurysms repaired?

Each patient is different and the decision to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm depends upon the size of the aneurysm, the age of the patient, underlying medical conditions, and life expectancy.

There are two approaches for repair:

The first is the traditional surgical approach. A large incision is made in the abdomen, the aortic aneurysm is identified and cut out or resected. The missing piece of aorta is replaced with a synthetic graft.

The second approach is placing an endovascular graft. A catheter or tube is threaded into the femoral artery in the groin and the graft is positioned so that it spans and sits inside the aneurysm and protects it from expanding (endovascular: endo = inside + vascular = blood vessel).

The approach to treatment needs to be tailored to the individual patient and very much depends upon the location, size, and shape of the aneurysm.

Picture of grafted stent to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Picture of grafted stent to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Return to Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

See what others are saying

Comment from: Lydia C, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 07

I am a survivor of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). I had three areas that had been dissected and of course the aneurysm formed. Doctors in my area didn't know how to help me. They said I was too young and a woman, which they say was not usual for this condition. I went to a specialist and he said I needed surgery to place stents in the aorta immediately. Three days later I had to have a lumbar drain to help prevent paralysis (which I think was the hardest part in recovering). They placed two stents with the hope this would help other areas heal. It didn't, so 1 year later I had to have another stent placed close to my kidney. So now 2 years after my AAA appeared I have one aneurysm that was too tricky to place the stent so again we are hoping for it to heal. Keeping my blood pressure low and follow ups with my doctor is a must. Kidney function is great and I am walking so much better after my second surgery. Going to my specialist I believed helped save my life.

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Comment from: Ron., 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: March 11

Last May 2015 I woke up with a very bad lower back pain, we called 999 and I was rushed to the hospital. I had no idea what was wrong with me, just that I hurt, there were no previous symptoms. I was operated on at once (6 hours) and spent 3 days in intensive care, and for the first week I had no idea what was happening. I was then told that I had had an abdominal aortic aneurysm and it was 7.5 cm and that it had been repaired with a nasogastric tube, I think that is a stent. I left the hospital after 20 days. I had to learn to walk again and I had lost 1.5 stone in weight (good) and now 9 months later I feel great with no symptoms at all, just a 15 inch scar down my chest and some pills that my doctor says that I must take. Not bad for an 81 year old. I have been told that I am very lucky and I think that I am.

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Comment from: CAM, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 24

Well, I am still alive after a 6.3 cm abdominal aortic aneurysm. However my kidney and my legs didn't fare so well. Soon I will be on dialysis and will have to wait for my legs to be repaired. But I had the best doctor in the world. My father had one as well 17 years ago and still he is going strong. Ask all the questions you can before you go under the knife. Good luck.

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