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Aortic Aneurysm - Surgery

Thoracic or abdominal aortic aneurysms that are large, causing symptoms, or rapidly getting bigger are considered at risk of rupturing. A repair surgery or procedure is usually recommended if any one of these factors is present. A doctor uses a man-made graft to repair an aortic aneurysm.

Your doctor will consider:

  • Whether you need the aneurysm repaired right away.
  • Whether you will be able to withstand a surgery or procedure.
  • The shape and location of your aneurysm to see which repair option is possible.

When making a decision about repairing an aortic aneurysm, you and your doctor will think about the benefits in relation to the risks. People who are at significant risk from surgery might be able to have a less invasive repair procedure.

It is not an option to wait until an aneurysm has ruptured before surgery is done. Most people who have a ruptured aortic aneurysm die. Surgery for a ruptured aneurysm is dangerous because of the large amount of blood loss.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm

In men, repair is typically recommended for abdominal aortic aneurysms camera.gif that are causing symptoms, are growing rapidly, or that are 5.5 cm or larger in diameter. In women, repair may be recommended for smaller aneurysms.

The decision to have your aneurysm repaired or not depends on other things too. These may include older age or medical problems that make the repair more dangerous.

Repair options are:

Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of each repair option to see which is better for you.

Thoracic aortic aneurysm

Your doctor will recommend that you have surgery for a thoracic aortic aneurysm camera.gif based on many things. These include:3

  • The location of the aneurysm, such as the ascending or descending part of the aorta camera.gif.
  • The size of the aneurysm. Repair might be recommended if an aneurysm is 5.5 to 6.0 cm in diameter.
  • Whether the aneurysm is part of a genetic problem, such as Marfan's syndrome.
  • Whether you need another heart surgery such as a heart valve replacement surgery.

Open surgery and the less invasive procedure, called endovascular repair, are the two options for repairing a thoracic aortic aneurysm. The choice of repair can depend on the size and location of the aneurysm.4

Many of the risks of surgical or endovascular repair are similar for abdominal and thoracic aortic aneurysms.6

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 22, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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