Open abdominal aortic aneurysm repair is surgery to fix a widened part (aneurysm) in your aorta, the large artery that carries blood to your belly (abdomen), pelvis, and legs.
An aortic aneurysm is when part of this artery becomes too large or balloons outward.
Your surgeon opens up your belly and replaces the aortic aneurysm with a man-made, cloth-like material.
The surgery will take place in an operating room. You will be given general anesthesia (you will be asleep and pain-free).
Surgery for aortic aneurysm replacement may take 2 to 4 hours. Most patients recover in the intensive care unit (ICU) after the surgery.
See also: Aortic aneurysm repair - endovascular
Open surgery to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm is sometimes done as an emergency procedure when there is any bleeding inside your body from the aneurysm.
You may also have an abdominal aortic aneurysm that is not causing any symptoms or problems. Your doctor may have found out about this problem from tests called ultrasound or CT scan. There is a risk that this aneurysm may suddenly break open (rupture) if you do not have surgery to repair it. However, surgery to repair the aneurysm may also be risky, depending on your overall health.
You and your doctor must decide whether the risk of having this surgery is smaller than the risk of rupture if you do not have the surgery. The doctor is more likely to recommend surgery if the aneurysm is:
The risks for this surgery are higher if you have:
Risks of problems or complications are also higher for older people.
Risks for any surgery are:
Risks for this surgery are:
Your doctor will do a thorough physical exam and tests before you have surgery.
Always tell your doctor or nurse what drugs you are taking, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.
If you are a smoker, you should stop smoking at least 4 weeks before your surgery. Your doctor or nurse can help.
During the 2 weeks before your surgery:
Do NOT drink anything after midnight the day before your surgery, including water.
On the day of your surgery:
Most people stay in the hospital for 5 to 10 days. During a hospital stay, you will:
Full recovery for open surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm may take 2 or 3 months. Most people make a full recovery from this surgery.
Most people who have an aneurysm repaired before it breaks open (ruptures) have a good outlook.
AAA - open; Repair - aortic aneurysm - open
Gloviczki P, Ricotta JJ II. Aneurysmal vascular disease. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 65.
De Bruin JL, Baas AF, Buth J, Brinssen M, Verhoeven EL, Cuypers PW, et al: DREAM Study Group. Long-term outcome of open or endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm. N Engl J Med; 2010:362:1881-1889.
United Kingdom EVAR Trial Investigators, Grenhalgh RM, Brown LC, Powell JT, Thompson SG, Epstein D, Sculpher MJ. Endovascular versus open repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm. N Engl J Med; 2010;362:1863-1871.
Reviewed by: Shabir Bhimji, MD, PhD, Specializing in General Surgery, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Midland, TX. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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