Traditional aneurysm surgery is an “open” procedure requiring a large incision in which the aneurysmal part of the vessel is replaced with a synthetic graft.
Endovascular aneurysm repair, in contrast, is performed through a small incision in the groins. This minimally invasive procedure uses special instruments and x-ray images for guidance. A stent-graft is inserted via the femoral artery and advanced up to the site of the aneurysm. The stent helps to hold the graft open and in place during the procedure.
Who is a candidate?
A patient might be considered for aneurysm surgery if:
- They have symptoms such as chest, back or stomach pain
- The aneurysm is growing rapidly
- The aneurysm interferes with blood flow
- The aneurysm is larger than 2 inches or 5 to 5.5 cm
- The aneurysm is leaking blood
What to expect
Open aneurysm repair is durable, well-tolerated by most patients, and typically requires a 5 to 7 day stay in the hospital with complete recovery in 4 to 6 weeks on average.
In comparison, stented patients generally return home 2 days after endovascular repair and are monitored in regular follow-up visits to check for any complications. There are, however, certain requirements for safe placement of an aortic stent-graft and not all patients have the appropriate anatomy for this procedure.