Endovascular aortic repair results in less blood loss and scarring. The Department of General Surgery at Singapore General Hospital explains the benefits and risks of this endovascular surgery.
What is endovascular aortic repair?
Unlike traditional open surgery, in which a surgeon has to cut open the chest or abdomen, locate the aneurysm, place clamps and clean up the site before inserting a fabric graft, endovascular surgery is a fairly simple procedure. It only requires a small surgical cut near the groin.
Using a series of tiny wires and catheters, a covered stent graft is threaded towards the swollen aorta.
The stent graft is then positioned under X-ray guidance and released so that it expands inside the blood vessel. This relieves pressure on the aneurysm and reduces the risk of it bursting. There is no need for long incisions on the chest or abdomen or cross clamps on the aorta.
Why endovascular aortic repair can be a better option
Endovascular aortic repair is a safer option for patients because it has a lower risk of surgical complications and has a much reduced risk of mortality compared to open repair.
“Endovascular surgery is performed under local anaesthesia or light sedation. This means patients remain fully alert but do not feel any pain during surgery. General anaesthesia is not needed which reduces the risk of surgical complications such as a stroke or heart attack,” says doctors from the
Department of General Surgery,
Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the
Other benefits of endovascular aortic repair over traditional open surgery:
- Shorter hospital stay (two to three days instead of 7 to 10 days)
- Shorter recovery period (two weeks instead of four weeks)
- Lower operative mortality rates
- Less post-operative pain
- Less blood loss and less scarring
- Endovascular aortic repair can also be used in cases that may not be suitable for open repair, such as complex aneurysms
Like any operation, endovascular surgery does carry some risks such as “endoleaks” (blood leaking out of and around the stent graft) and kidney failure. Possible migration or blockage of the stent graft can be remedied.
To lower the risk of developing aortic aneurysm, eat a healthy diet and keep chronic medical conditions under control.
See previous page for the
symptoms and causes of aortic aneurysm.