An aneurysm is a weak, bulging spot on the wall of an artery. It can develop in an artery that provides blood flow to the abdomen (abdominal aortic aneurysm). The aorta is the main blood vessel that brings blood to the abdomen, pelvis and legs. Often, people don’t know they have an aneurysm until it bursts, at which point it can be life threatening.
When you have an aneurysm in your abdomen, your doctor may watch it for a while before recommending treatment. Once it gets to a certain size, then you may be advised to have it fixed. These aneurysms can be fixed both surgically (an open incision/cut in your abdomen) or endovascularly, from within the blood vessels, through a special catheter.
What happens during an Endograft repair of an abdominal aneurysm?
You will have already discussed the treatment options with the physicians doing the procedure.
Prior to your procedure, we’ll take you to a preparation area where our nurses will start an IV in your arm and give you any medication that may be required prior to your procedure. We may give you medicines to protect your kidneys, antibiotics to help prevent infection, and anti-nausea medications. You may have a Foley catheter (tube) placed into your bladder.
When it’s time to begin, we’ll take you to a special room that is similar to an operating room. We typically use general anesthesia for this procedure, so you will not be aware of the rest of the procedure.
During the procedure, you’ll lie on your back on a table and we’ll clean the area where the incisions will be made. We’ll place sterile drapes over your body. Your vascular surgeon will make two incisions to expose the arteries in your groins. The interventionalist will then insert catheters (a thin, hollow tube) through these arteries.
Using fluoroscopy (live X-ray pictures), we’ll position special larger catheters containing the tightly folded Endograft at the appropriate place to divert the blood flow into the graft rather than into the aneurysm.
At the end of the procedure, your interventionalist will withdraw the catheters and your vascular surgeon will sew the incisions made at your groin. Finally, we’ll put bandages over the incisions. You will be taken to the anesthesia recovery room and then to the intensive unit, where you will spend at least one night.