PROCEDURE FOR ABDOMINAL AORTIC ANEURYSM (AAA)
In endovascular repair, the aneurysm isn’t removed. Instead, a graft is inserted into the aorta to strengthen it. This type of surgery is done using catheters (tubes) inserted into the arteries; it doesn’t require surgically opening the chest or abdomen.
The surgeon first inserts a catheter into an artery in the groin (upper thigh) and threads it to the aneurysm. Then, using an x ray to see the artery, the surgeon threads the graft (also called a stent graft) into the aorta to the aneurysm.
The graft is then expanded inside the aorta and fastened in place to form a stable channel for blood flow. The graft reinforces the weakened section of the aorta to prevent the aneurysm from rupturing.
The illustration shows the placement of an endovascular stent graft in an aortic aneurysm. In figure A, a catheter is inserted into an artery in the groin (upper thigh). The catheter is threaded to the abdominal aorta, and the stent graft is released from the catheter. In figure B, the stent graft allows blood to flow through the aneurysm.
Endovascular repair reduces recovery time to a few days and greatly reduces time in the hospital. However, doctors can’t repair all aortic aneurysms with this procedure. The location or size of the aneurysm may prevent a stent graft from being safely or reliably placed inside the aneurysm.