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Open Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair

Abdominal aortic aneurysm repair is an open surgical procedure used to treat abdominal aortic aneurysm, a condition where blood collects in the aorta near your stomach, causing the aorta to balloon. Aneurysms that get too big may rupture, a potentially fatal situation.

What is Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair Surgery?

During abdominal aortic repair surgery, your doctor replaces the weakened aortic with a hollow man-made tube (a graft). The goal of placing the graft is to safely re-route blood past the aneurysm.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm repair can be done through open surgery or a less invasive endovascular procedure called Interventional Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair. Your surgeon will choose the best approach for you.

At St. Joseph's Heart & Vascular Institute, our expert cardiac surgeons develop personalized treatment plans for every patient. 

What to Expect During Open Surgery for AAA Repair

During open surgery, a graft replaces the weakened section of aortic wall. Then the aortic wall is wrapped back around the graft. Once in surgery:

  • Your doctor makes an incision in your abdomen and gently moves aside your organs to reach the damaged section of the aorta.
  • Next, your doctor opens the aneurysm and cleans out any blood clots.
  • Your doctor sews a hollow tube called a graft to the aorta.
  • The wall of the aorta is wrapped around the graft to protect it. The wall is then sewn up.
  • The incision site is closed with sutures or staples.

Am I a Candidate for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair Surgery?

If your aneurysm is small, your doctor may recommend a "wait and watch" approach to monitor it. Larger aneurysms will require treatment to repair them so they don't rupture, a potentially life-threatening situation.

The type of repair approach your doctor recommends – open surgery or minimally invasive repair – depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Age
  • Physical health
  • Family history
  • Size and location of aneurysm

An endovascular, or interventional, procedure may be preferred for older and higher-risk patients.