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endovascular grafting

overview

Aneurysms are balloon-shaped bulges in artery walls. The bulges make the artery walls thin and weak, which means they might rupture. Endovascular stent grafting is a procedure that’s done to reinforce an aortic aneurysm. An endovascular graft is a fabric tube held up by a metal stent. Once it’s placed inside the artery with a catheter, blood can flow through the artery without putting pressure on the aneurysm.

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

what to expect

Before your procedure, your doctor will order tests to make sure you’re strong enough for surgery. You may be asked to stop taking certain medications a few days before the procedure. 

On the day of your procedure, you receive a sedative to help you relax and a local anesthetic. Another option is general anesthesia, which will put you to sleep completely. Next, the vascular team will trim the hair around your insertion site, which is typically in the groin, and cleanse your skin.

Using a combination of a surgical incision and a needle puncture, your physician will insert a catheter and wire into the artery. With the help of X-ray images viewed on a screen, the catheter and wire will be threaded to the spot where the aneurysm is. 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.

recovery

You’ll stay in the hospital for 1 to 3 days. Before you go home, your doctor will go over restrictions on driving and other activities. You can have a sponge bath or take a shower, but shouldn’t have a tub bath or soak the site of the puncture until it’s healed. Any discomfort should be minimal, but your doctor can prescribe pain medication if needed. You can expect to fully recover in about a month.  

Like all surgeries, endovascular stent grafting has potential risks, which 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

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