Breakthrough in Abdominal Aneurysm Surgery

Breakthrough in Abdominal Aneurysm Surgery

Dr. Akhil Kumar Rustagi, Director & Head – Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery, Yatharth Hospital, Greater Noida

Dr. Akhil YGN

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm is a serious medical condition where the large blood vessel called the aorta, which supplies blood from the heart to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs, becomes enlarged and bulges out. This condition is dangerous because if the aneurysm bursts, it can cause life-threatening internal bleeding. Fortunately, advancements in medical technology have provided effective treatment options to manage this condition, one of the most notable being Endovascular Aneurysm Repair.

Understanding Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

The aorta is the main artery that runs from the heart down through the chest and abdomen. Over time, the walls of the aorta can become weakened, leading to the formation of an aneurysm. Factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) can contribute to the development of an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. Genetics also play a role.

It often grows slowly without symptoms, making it a silent threat. However, some people may experience a pulsing sensation in the abdomen, deep and constant pain in the abdomen or side, or back pain. Large or rapidly growing aneurysms are at higher risk of rupturing and require immediate medical attention.

Traditional Open Surgery

Traditionally, the standard treatment for a large or symptomatic Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm has been open abdominal surgery. This procedure involves making a large incision in the abdomen to directly access the aorta. The surgeon then removes the aneurysm and replaces the weakened section of the aorta with a synthetic graft, which is sewn into place.

While effective, open surgery is highly invasive, requiring significant recovery time. Patients typically stay in the hospital for a week or more, and full recovery can take several months. The procedure also carries risks such as infection, significant blood loss, and complications related to anaesthesia.

Endovascular Aneurysm Repair

Endovascular Aneurysm Repair is a modern, minimally invasive alternative to traditional open surgery. Introduced in the 1990s, It has revolutionized the treatment of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, offering a safer and quicker recovery option for many patients.

In this procedure, the surgeon makes small incisions in the groin area to access the femoral arteries. Using fluoroscopic imaging for guidance, the surgeon threads a catheter through the arteries to the site of the aneurysm. A stent graft, which is a tube made of fabric supported by a metal mesh, is then placed inside the aneurysm. Once in position, the stent graft expands and attaches to the healthy portion of the aorta above and below the aneurysm, creating a new path for blood flow and reducing pressure on the aneurysm.

Benefits of Endovascular Aneurysm Repair

The benefits over traditional open surgery are significant. Because the procedure is less invasive, patients typically experience shorter hospital stays, often going home within two to three days. Recovery time is significantly reduced, allowing patients to return to normal activities within a few weeks. Additionally, smaller incisions mean less postoperative pain and discomfort, and the risk of complications such as infection and blood loss are lower compared to open surgery.

Endovascular Aneurysm Repair represents a significant advancement in the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms, offering a minimally invasive option with numerous benefits over traditional open surgery. While not suitable for every patient, it provides an effective and safer alternative for many, reducing recovery times and improving overall outcomes. Continued advancements and research in this field promise even better solutions for those affected by this potentially life-threatening condition.

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