When to Consider AAA Repair for Aneurysms

When to Consider AAA Repair for Aneurysms

Having an aneurysm is frightening in and of itself — not knowing when to get help can add no small amount of confusion to your fear. 

Our team of experts at Advanced Vascular Solutions in Sebastian, Florida, doesn't want you to feel like you’re on your own, especially when it comes to living with an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Here, we highlight a few reasons why we recommend surgical repair

Understanding aneurysms

Aneurysms occur when part of your artery wall weakens, allowing it to balloon out or widen. They develop in any artery in your body, including the arteries of your brain, spleen, and even behind the knee. 

The most common aneurysms are often the most dangerous because they're found in the aorta, the main artery that carries blood from your heart to your body. 

If you go below the surface, you'll see that your aorta is the largest blood vessel, running essentially the length of your torso from your heart through the center of your chest and abdomen. 

Most aortic aneurysms are abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA), which occur in the part of the aorta in your belly area. Virtually anyone can develop an AAA, but several factors increase your risk:

The most frightening characteristic of AAAs is that they often grow slowly without noticeable symptoms, making them difficult to detect. In some cases, they start small and stay small, but if your aneurysm is growing and becoming a problem, you may notice symptoms such as:

Though there are many circumstances in which an aneurysm can be benign, leaving a progressing aneurysm unchecked could have life-threatening consequences. 

When an AAA requires medical attention

A rupture is the main concern when it comes to an AAA. If the aneurysm ruptures or tears, it can cause significant, life-threatening internal bleeding. Forunately, there's a minimally invasive procedure we can use to quickly repair a potentially problematic AAA.

We recommend surgical repair for any of the following reasons:

In the best cases, we can catch an AAA early, monitor its progress, and recommend surgery when necessary. However, even the most closely watched aneurysm can suddenly rupture and become an emergency in a matter of moments. For that reason, we also offer emergency AAA repairs.

You know that your aneurysm has ruptured if you experience sudden, intense pain in your abdomen or back, often described as a tearing sensation. A sudden drop in blood pressure and a fast pulse are other warning signs of an emergency. 

How the repair works

An AAA repair actually begins in your groin. We carefully insert a catheter in your groin area and slowly feed it toward the site of your aneurysm. Then, we place a stent graft to reinforce your artery wall.

Other vascular surgeons might opt for a traditional open AAA repair, which requires large incisions through your abdomen and more invasive techniques, but we prefer to take care of your aneurysm with as little disruption as possible. 

After the procedure, you may need to rest in the hospital for a few days. Full recovery from our minimally invasive repairs takes up to four weeks — traditional repairs require 2-3 months of recovery.

What to expect from recovery

Everyone recovers from surgery at a different pace, but there are a few things you can expect. Short walks every day can go a long way in promoting healthy blood flow and helping you recover quickly. You should also avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for a few weeks. 

You may not feel very hungry after surgery, but we encourage you to eat normally and drink plenty of fluids. If you weren't eating a healthy diet before the procedure, take your recovery period as a time to reboot your eating habits. 

What's next?

Once you're past the recovery phase, we start discussing life after AAA repair. We work with you to make some changes that both support your overall health and keep an AAA from returning. 

Some of the basic rules of thumb are:

Need to know more about AAA repair? Call or click to schedule an appointment with our experts today. 

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