An endovascular stent graft is a metal-lined fabric tube that reinforces an aneurysm in a blood vessel. It is a way to reline the blood vessel and decrease the chance of an aneurysm rupturing. The stent graft seals tightly above and below the aneurysm. The graft is stronger than the weakened artery and allows blood to pass through it without pushing on the bulge. Endovascular stent grafting can be used to treat abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs), as well as thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAAs).
To perform endovascular procedures, vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists use wires and catheters inside the blood vessels. These catheters can be placed in blood vessels in the legs, meaning that only two small incisions are required.
Generally, because incisions are small, endovascular treatments allow you to leave the hospital sooner and recover more quickly with less pain and a lower risk of complications than traditional surgery. However, sometimes traditional surgery may be required if the shape or the location of the aneurysm is not favorable for an endovascular treatment.
Surgical Aneurysm Repair
An interventional radiologist or vascular surgeon may recommend that you have a surgical procedure called open aneurysm repair if your aneurysm is causing symptoms, is larger than 2 inches, or is enlarging under observation.
During an open aneurysm repair, also known as surgical aneurysm repair, your surgeon makes an incision in your abdomen and replaces the weakened part of your aorta with a tube-like graft. This graft is made of man-made material, such as woven fabric, in the size and shape of the healthy aorta. This tube replaces the diseased portion of your aorta and allows blood to pass through easily.
Following the surgery, you may stay in the hospital for 5 to 7 days. A complete recovery takes about 2 to 3 months. More than 90 percent of open aneurysm repairs are successful for the long term.