Open Abdominal Surgery

The accepted standard treatment for aneurysm once it meets the indications for surgery is replacement of that portion of the aorta with an artificial graft. Typically a graft is made from DacronTM, a material that will not wear out. The graft is sewn in place with a permanent suture material.

The operation, including the incision that is made, depends on the location of the aneurysm. If the aneurysm is close to the aortic valve, an incision in the front of the chest such as a median sternotomy may be used. If the aneurysm is close to the valve, the aortic valve may have to be repaired or replaced. Surgery on the aortic arch is usually done from the front as well. If the aneurysm involves the descending thoracic aorta, which lies in the left chest, or the thoracic abdominal aorta, an incision on the left side of the chest will likely be required. If the aneurysm is confined to the abdomen, then an incision either in the abdomen, or on the side or flank may be used.

The length of the operation and the risks involved depends on the extent of the repair required, and on the patient’s general health. Recovery time varies. Most people need at least a month or six weeks to recover from aneurysm surgery. The length of the hospital stay depends on the patient’s condition and the operation performed, but it is typically a week.