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Aortic Aneurysm Surgery

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Aortic aneurysm surgery is a vascular surgery procedure to repair a bulging or ballooning of the wall of the aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body through which blood flows as it leaves the heart. The wall of the aorta is flexible and expandable to accommodate the pulsing of blood from the heart. Sometimes the wall of the aorta can become too weak and damaged and the force of the pumping blood causes the aortic wall to bulge or balloon. When a bulge in the wall grows to more than 1.5 times its regular size, the condition is called an aortic aneurysm. Nine out of 10 aneurysms form in the abdomen.

Types of Aortic Aneurysm Surgery

There are two types of aortic aneurysm surgery to repair a diseased abdominal aorta.

  • Traditional open aortic aneurysm surgery is a major operation in which the ballooning section of the aorta is replaced with an artificial graft that is sewn into place. The surgery requires an incision in the abdomen and patients may spend up to a week in the hospital, but the graft is typically quite durable and the surgery is considered a very effective way to treat an aortic aneurysm.
  • Minimally invasive aortic aneurysm surgery is a newer, catheter-based procedure that allows patients to return home usually within a couple of days. Small incisions are made in the groin and a catheter is placed internally up into the aorta. A cloth sheath is placed inside the aortic wall and is secured by aortic stent grafts, forming a shield inside the aorta that protects the aneurysm from the pressure of pumping blood.

For the latest in aortic aneurysm surgery and vascular disease treatment, patients in the Boston area can find state-of-the-art treatment at the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH). Learn more about Aortic Aneurysm Surgery and Cardiovascular Treatments at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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