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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair (AAA)


An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a bulge in the lower part of the aorta, the main artery in the human body that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body, which extends through the abdominal area and divides to supply blood to the legs.

The aorta is elastic, like most arteries, which allows it to be filled with blood under high pressure. The development of an aneurysm takes place when the wall of the artery becomes weakened and distended like a balloon and can rupture from the force of normal blood pressure. (The analogy of a bubble in a garden hose would be appropriate when describing an aneurysm). These aneurysms are usually discovered before they produce any symptoms, but they may rupture if they become too large.

Abdominal aortic aneurysms are treated by one of two surgical treatment options — open surgical repair, or endovascular repair.


Most individuals with an abdominal aortic aneurysm do not experience any symptoms. When an abdominal aneurysm grows, however, patients may experience a pulsing feeling located in the abdomen, similar to a heartbeat, pain in the lower back, or tenderness in the chest. Most AAA's are detected in routine medical exams.

Risk Factors

There are various risk factors correlated with abdominal aortic aneurysm:

  • Individuals over the age of 50
  • History of smoking
  • Clogged arteries (atherosclerosis)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High cholesterol (hypocholesteremia)
  • Family history

Treatment Options

Open Surgical Repair

  • Open surgical repair is performed in the operating room under general anesthesia.
    A surgeon makes an incision in the abdominal wall to expose the aneurysm site. The area that has been damaged by the aneurysm is then surgically separated from the main part of the aorta and replaced with an aortic graft, which is made from a synthetic tube.

Endovascular Repair

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