Abdominal aortic aneurysm repair - open - discharge
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.
AAA - open - discharge; Repair - aortic aneurysm - open - discharge
When You're in the Hospital
You had open aortic aneurysm surgery to repair an aneurysm (a widened part) in your aorta, the large artery that carries blood to your belly (abdomen), pelvis, and legs.
You have a long incision (cut) either in the middle of your belly or on the left side of your belly. Your surgeon repaired your aorta through this incision. After spending 1 to 3 days in the intensive care unit (ICU), you spent more time recovering in a regular hospital room.
What to Expect at Home
Plan to have someone drive you home from the hospital. DO NOT drive yourself home.
You should be able to do most of your regular activities in 4 to 8 weeks. Before that:
Your provider will prescribe pain medicines for you to use at home. If you are taking pain pills 3 or 4 times a day, try taking them at the same times each day for 3 to 4 days. They may be more effective this way.
Get up and move around if you are having some pain in your belly. This may ease your pain.
Press a pillow over your incision when you cough or sneeze to ease discomfort and protect your incision.
Make sure your home is safe as you are recovering.
Change the dressing over your surgical wound once a day, or sooner if it becomes soiled. Your provider will tell you when you do not need to keep your wound covered. Keep the wound area clean. You may wash it with mild soap and water if your provider says you can.
You may remove the wound dressings and take showers if sutures, staples, or glue were used to close your skin, or if your provider says you can.
If tape strips (Steri-strips) were used to close your incision, cover the incision with plastic wrap before showering for the first week. DO NOT try to wash off the Steri-strips or glue.
DO NOT soak in a bathtub or hot tub, or go swimming, until your doctor tells you it is OK.
Surgery does not cure the underlying problem with your blood vessels. Other blood vessels could be affected in the future, so lifestyle changes and medical management are important:
When to Call the Doctor
Call your provider if:
Also call your provider if there are changes in your surgical incision, such as:
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.
Review Date: 4/5/2018
Reviewed By: Michael Sobel, MD, Professor of Vascular Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. 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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