AAA Endograft Repair
Watch an animation about the Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Repair Procedure. *High Speed Internet Connection Required
Click to view Animation–>
An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) occurs when a portion of the aorta passing through the abdomen is weakened and begins to bulge. This typically occurs in the region just below the kidneys.
The condition is fairly common in older adults and is more common in men than in women. Aneurysms are most often caused by atherosclerotic disease. Factors that may increase your risk for AAA include smoking, hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, Emphysema, obesity and genetic factors.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Symptoms
Aneurysms may develop very slowly over many years, causing them to be asymptomatic. Certain patients with advanced cases of AAA may experience throbbing in the abdomen or lower back pain.
Because a large percentage of these cases are asymptomatic, many go undiagnosed, creating a life-threatening situation. Preventative screenings are critical in the detection and diagnosis of AAA so they can be appropriately managed and treated.
When abdominal aortic aneurysm symptoms are detected, consultation with one of our vascular surgeons is necessary to determine the appropriate method of treatment. Smaller aneurysms are usually monitored over time. Large aneurysms require treatment in order to prevent rupture. A ruptured aorta is life-threatening situation that requires immediate attention.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Treatments
Treatment is usually not necessary until an aneurysm is more than 2 inches in diameter. (Normal abdominal aortic diameter is about one inch.) The procedure may be done in one of two ways:
- Standard “open” procedure involving an abdominal incision, or
- Minimally-invasive endovascular procedure using catheters that are inserted through the femoral arteries in the groin. In both cases, a graft (hollow synthetic tube) is inserted in place of the damaged artery. The placement of the graft either replaces the diseased portion of the aorta entirely or alleviates pressure on the weakening and bulging wall of the aorta, preventing rupture.
In a traditional open approach, the procedure is performed under general anesthesia. An incision is then made down the center of the abdomen and the muscles and internal organs are gently retracted to allow access to the aorta, which is located near the spine. The surgeon removes the damaged, weakened portion of the blood vessel and replaces it with the synthetic graft.