Abdominal aortic aneurysm repair - open


Open abdominal aortic aneurysm 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.

Alternative Names

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.

Why the Procedure Is Performed

Open surgery to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm is sometimes done as an emergency procedure when there is bleeding inside your body from the aneurysm.

You may have an abdominal aortic aneurysm 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 recommended 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:

Before the Procedure

Your will have a physical exam and get tests before you have surgery.

Always tell your provider 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 provider can help.

During the 2 weeks before your surgery:

You will have visits with your provider to make sure medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart or lung problems are well treated.

DO NOT drink anything after midnight the day before your surgery, including water.

On the day of your surgery:

After the Procedure

Most people stay in the hospital for 5 to 10 days. During a hospital stay, you will:

Outlook (Prognosis)

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.


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. PMID: 20484396 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20484396.

Tracci MC, Cherry JR KJ. The Aorta. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 62.

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. PMID: 20382983 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20382983.