Endovascular Grafting

Treating Cardiovascular Diseases in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois

Endovascular stent grafting is an interventional procedure that is performed to reinforce an aortic aneurysm. Aneurysms are balloon-shaped bulges that occur in artery walls, causing them to become thin, weak and prone to rupturing.

An endovascular graftis a fabric tube supported by a metal stent. It is placed inside the artery with a catheter, permitting blood to flow through the artery without putting pressure on the aneurysm.

Endovascular stent graft repair cannot treat all aortic aneurysms. Depending on their size and location, some may need to be treated with traditional surgery.

Preparing for an Endovascular Graft

In the days or weeks before your procedure, your doctor may request certain tests to make sure you are strong enough to have the surgery. You may also be asked to stop taking certain medications a few days before the procedure. Depending on your situation, your doctor may advise you on anesthesia options.

During Endovascular Stent Grafting

You may receive a sedative to help you relax and a local anesthesia. Or you may receive general anesthesia, which will put you completely to sleep.

The vascular team will clip the hair around your insertion site, which is typically in the groin, and cleanse your skin.

Using a combination of a surgical cutdown and direct needle puncture of the artery, your physician will insert a catheter and wire into the artery, threading them to the aneurysm with the help of X-ray images viewed on a screen. Because there are no nerve endings in the artery, you will not feel the catheter and wire. Once the equipment is in place, the graft is opened, sealing off the aneurysm and preventing rupture.

The length of this procedure varies, but it often ranges between 2 and 3 hours.

Potential Risks of Endovascular Stent Graft Repair

Like all surgeries, endovascular stent grafting has potential risks. Your doctor will explain your risks in greater detail. Potential risks may include:

  • Blockage of blood flow through the graft
  • Graft fracture
  • Infection
  • Leaking of blood around the graft
  • Movement of the graft from its original location

Endovascular Graft Recovery 

You may be hospitalized for 1 – 3 days after the graft is placed. You will need to discuss driving and activity restrictions with your doctor. You will be allowed to have a sponge bath or shower, but you will need to avoid soaking the puncture site until it has healed. Discomfort at the puncture site should be minimal. If necessary, your physician can prescribe an oral pain medication for you to take as needed. A full recovery may take about a month. 

Nationally Recognized for Treating Aneurysms

Aurora Health Care offers a multidisciplinary team approach to endovascular grafting. Our team includes vascular medicine specialists, cardiologists, imaging specialists and surgeons all under one roof.

Aurora doctors are conveniently located throughout eastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois. Find a doctor or heart specialist near you. To get a second opinion or if you need assistance finding a provider, please call 888-649-6892.