Abdominal aortic aneurysm repair - open

Definition

Open abdominal aortic aneurysm repair is surgery to fix a widened part  in your aorta, 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

Description

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's how it can be done:  

Surgery for aortic aneurysm replacement may take 2 to 4 hours. Most patients 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 doctor 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 doctor must decide whether the risk of having this surgery is smaller than the risk of rupture. The doctor is more likely to recommend surgery if the aneurysm is:

Risks

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 doctor will carefully examine you and order 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:

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.

References

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: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 62.

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.