A weakening of the aortic artery that causes a bulge in the artery is known as an aortic aneurysm. The aorta, the body’s main artery, distributes blood from the heart to the body. Aneurysms most commonly form in belly also known as abdominal aortic aneurysm. If the aneurysm forms in the upper portion of the body it is known as a thoracic aortic aneurysm. Weakening of the artery over time can cause it to burst and can lead to hemorrhage and ultimately death.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm open repair
This surgery involves an abdominal incision to readily view the aneurysm. The abdominal incision is either lengthwise from middle chest to directly under the navel or it can be horizontal across the belly and down the middle of the abdomen. The repair of the aneurysm involves the use of a tube know as a graft. The graft is connected to one end of the aorta above the aneurysm to the lower end of the aorta by way of sutures. Endovascular aneurysm is more commonly done as opposed to the open repair because it is less invasive.
Endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR)
EVAR is a procedure performed to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm while being minimally-invasive.A small incision will be made to each groin to view the femoral arteries. With the use of special endovascular instruments, along with X-ray images for guidance, a stent-graft will be inserted through the femoral artery and advanced up into the aorta to the site of the aneurysm. A stent-graft is a long tube just as mentioned above, but with a stent attached to the graft. The stent aids with keeping the graft in place. The stent-graft is placed in the aorta and positioned at the aneurysm. The stent-graft will then be expanded, allowing it to attach to the wall of the aorta for support. Eventually the aneurysm will shrink onto the stent. The surgeon determines if EVAR is appropriate, or if the open repair is needed.