Abdominal aortic aneurysm repair - open
Open abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair is surgery to fix a widened part in your aorta. This is called an aneurysm. The aorta is the large artery that carries blood to your belly (abdomen), pelvis, and legs.
An aortic aneurysm is when part of this artery becomes too large or balloons outward.
AAA - open; Repair - aortic aneurysm - open
The surgery will take place in an operating room. You will be given general anesthesia (you will be asleep and pain-free).
Your surgeon opens up your belly and replaces the aortic aneurysm with a man-made, cloth-like material.
Here is how it can be done:
Surgery for aortic aneurysm replacement may take 2 to 4 hours. Most people recover in the intensive care unit (ICU) after the surgery.
Why the Procedure Is Performed
Open surgery to repair an AAA is sometimes done as an emergency procedure when there is bleeding inside your body from the aneurysm.
You may have an AAA that is not causing any symptoms or problems. Your health care provider may have found the problem after you had an ultrasound or CT scan done for another reason. There is a risk that this aneurysm may suddenly break open (rupture) if you do not have surgery to repair it. However, surgery to repair the aneurysm may also be risky, depending on your overall health.
You and your provider must decide whether the risk of having this surgery is smaller than the risk for rupture. Surgery is more likely to be suggested if the aneurysm is:
The risks for this surgery are higher if you have:
Complications are also higher for older people.
Risks for any surgery are:
Risks for this surgery are:
Before the Procedure
Your will have a physical exam and get tests before you have surgery.
Always tell your provider what medicines you are taking, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.
If you are a smoker, you should stop smoking at least 4 weeks before your surgery. Your provider can help.
During the 2 weeks before your surgery:
DO NOT drink anything after midnight the day before your surgery, including water.
On the day of your surgery:
After the Procedure
Most people stay in the hospital for 5 to 10 days. During a hospital stay, you will:
Full recovery for open surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm may take 2 or 3 months. Most people make a full recovery from this surgery.
Most people who have an aneurysm repaired before it breaks open (ruptures) have a good outlook.
Lancaster RT, Cambria RP. Open repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms. In: Cameron JL, Cameron AM, eds. Current Surgical Therapy. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:899-907.
Tracci MC, Cherry KJ. The aorta. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 61.
Woo EY, Damrauer SM. Abdominal aortic aneurysms: open surgical treatment. In: Sidawy AN, Perler BA, eds. Rutherford's Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 71.
Review Date: 10/23/2018
Reviewed By: Mary C. Mancini, MD, PhD, Director, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Christus Highland Medical Center, Shreveport, LA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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