What Are the Surgical Options to Treat an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm?

Blog Post
By South Valley Vascular
March 30, 2022

As humans, we consume food and excrete waste to keep surviving. Moreover, our bodies need to remove any excess fluids in the body on a daily basis. That is why it is essential to keep the abdomen healthy regularly. The abdomen is located in the middle section of the body, between the chest and the pelvis. This part of the body includes the digestive system and the kidneys. Many complications can arise inside the abdomen, particularly with the aorta. 

The aorta is one of the major arteries of the body that supplies blood to the intestines. This oxygenated blood allows the intestines to digest food. The main branches of this artery are the celiac trunk, the inferior mesenteric artery, and the superior mesenteric artery. However, as blood is transferred to the intestines, it can rupture. This causes what is known as an aortic aneurysm in the body. An aortic aneurysm can be fatal and needs immediate medical attention. Among the list of treatments is aortic aneurysm surgery, particularly open surgery. Another form of aortic aneurysm treatment involves endovascular stent grafting. These are your primary surgical options to treat an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Open Surgery

Open surgery is an effective option among the list of aortic aneurysm treatments. This is an invasive procedure, meaning that a surgeon needs to make incisions in the abdomen to treat a bleeding aorta. According to University of Michigan Health, “To repair the aneurysm, a doctor uses a man-made tube (called a graft) to replace the weak and bulging section of the aorta in the belly.” After the surgery is complete, the surgeon will close the abdomen with stitches. You can expect several months of recovery after surgery. However, patients need to ask their physician what daily activities they can or cannot do during recovery.

Endovascular Stent Grafting

This is another form of surgery where the doctor will insert a stent graft into the aneurysm. A stent graft is a device placed inside the aorta to sustain the artery. The goal is to prevent the aneurysm from bursting, thereby leaking blood. To do so, the surgeon will sedate the patient, and insert catheters in the groin. Catheters are tube-like devices designed for a surgeon to place the graft inside the aorta. After the procedure is finished, the patient needs one month to recover from the operation. 

Aortic Aneurysm Surgery Risks

There are certain risks of undergoing open surgery to treat an aneurysm. This includes a person developing colon abnormalities. The colon is located in the large intestine and allows for the healthy digestion of food. A patient should speak with their doctor right away if they suspect that their colon may not be functioning properly. Also, it is important for patients to monitor the health of their heart after surgery, because it is possible for them to experience heart complications after the procedure. Undergoing endovascular stent grafting could pose the risk of the graft itself breaking. Other risk factors include paralysis of the body and bleeding in the aorta during surgery. 

However, it’s important to note that surgery may be necessary to treat an abdominal aortic aneurysm. While there are risks of surgery, most of these risks are minor. Also, some of the above complications are highly rare. Avoiding treatment for an abdominal aortic aneurysm is even riskier. It’s important to see a doctor right away if you’re experiencing related symptoms. These include:

  • Chest or abdominal pain
  • A pulsating sensation in the abdomen
  • Discoloration or loss of feeling in the toes
  • Fever
  • Sudden, unexplained weight loss 

Thankfully, there are talented and experienced physicians who can offer surgical precision and a proven track record of success. At South Valley Vascular, we value the health and wellness of our patients. Prospective patients can visit our website to learn more about the treatment options we provide.