Open abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair is surgery to fix a widened part in your aorta. This is called an aneurysm. The aorta is 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.
AAA - open; Repair - aortic aneurysm - open
The surgery will take place in an operating room. You will be given general anesthesia (you will be asleep and pain-free).
Your surgeon opens up your belly and replaces the aortic aneurysm with a man-made, cloth-like material.
Here is how it can be done:
Surgery for aortic aneurysm replacement may take 2 to 4 hours. Most people recover in the intensive care unit (ICU) after the surgery.
Open surgery to repair an AAA is sometimes done as an emergency procedure when there is bleeding inside your body from the aneurysm.
You may have an AAA that is not causing any symptoms or problems. Your health care provider may have found the problem after you had an ultrasound or CT scan done for another reason. 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 provider must decide whether the risk of having this surgery is smaller than the risk of rupture. Surgery is more likely to be suggested if the aneurysm is:
The risks for this surgery are higher if you have:
Complications are also higher for older people.
Risks for any surgery are:
Risks for this surgery are:
Your will have a physical exam and get tests before you have surgery.
Always tell your provider what medicines 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 provider 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.
Desgranges P, Kobeiter H, Katsahian S, et al. Editor's choice - ECAR (endovasculaire ou chirurgie dans les anévrysmes aorto-iliaques rompus): a French randomized controlled trial of endovascular versus open surgical repair of ruptured aorto-iliac aneurysms. Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2015;50(3):303-310. PMID: 26001320 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26001320.
Glebova NO, Malas MB. The management of ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. In: Cameron JL, Cameron AM, eds. Current Surgical Therapy. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:788-791.
Holt PJE, Thompson MM. Abdominal aortic aneurysm. In: Cronenwett JL, Johnston KW, eds. Rutherford's Vascular Surgery. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 130.