How Does Aortic Aneurysm Repair Work?
Aneurysms are swellings or enlargements of blood vessels. When they become large aneurysms they can burst or rupture resulting almost always in death. Aneurysms never cause symptoms until they rupture, and treatment of aneurysms is solely to prevent death related to rupture. The risk of rupture is related to size, the larger the aneurysm the greater the risk of rupture.
Treatment of aneurysm involves replacing the portion of the aorta which is enlarged. With aneurysms of the ascending aorta, this always requires a traditional sternotomy or sternal division. It is currently not possible to treat ascending aneurysms with a stented endograph, instead more traditional open heart surgical techniques including the use of the bypass machine are required. The ascending aorta is replaced with a cloth tube made of Dacron polyester. When the aortic valve is involved with the aneurysm process it is replaced with the aneurysm in a single procedure. If the aneurysm involves the aortic arch, which is the portion of the aorta which gives rise to the blood vessels what serve the head and arms, is replaced at the same time.
Frequently in addition to the sternal incision, an incision in the groin is required. Recovery is similar to bypass operations performed through the sternum.