Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

An aneurysm is when a blood vessel becomes abnormally large or balloons outward. The abdominal aorta is a large blood vessel that supplies blood to your abdomen, the pelvis, and legs.

The aorta is the largest artery in your body, and it carries blood from your heart out to the rest of the body. Your aorta starts in your chest, where it is called the thoracic aorta. When it reaches your abdomen, it is called the abdominal aorta. The abdominal aorta supplies blood to the intestines, liver and kidneys. Just below the abdomen, the aorta splits into the iliac arteries which carry blood to each leg.

When a weak area of the abdominal aorta grows, it is called an abdominal aneurysm(AAA). An abdominal aortic aneurysm can develop in anyone, but it is most frequently seen in people over 50 with one or more risk factors. The larger the aneurysm, the more likely it is to rupture.

Normally, the aorta is about 2.0 cm in diameter. An aneurysmal aorta can grow to 5 cm or beyond. Aneurysms this large are a health risk because of the chance of rupture. A rupture can cause massive internal bleeding and can be fatal. Fortunately, when diagnosed early, AAA can be treated, or even cured, with effective and safe treatments.

Aneurysms are caused by aging and degeneration of the aortic wall. The main risk factors for aneurysm development are aging, smoking, hypertension, and family history of aneurysms.

AAA’s generally do not cause symptoms. Rapidly expanding or leaking aneurysms can cause sudden severe back, abdominal, or flank pain, which usually requires emergent surgery.

Should your physician suspect that you may have AAA, he will recommend an abdominal ultrasound exam or CT scan be performed.

There are two methods to repair abdominal aortic aneurysms.

  1. Endovascular Aneurysm Repair

    During this repair an endovascular stent graft is inserted in the blood vessel to reinforce the aneurysm in the aorta. 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. Generally, endovascular stent grafts allows the patient to leave the hospital sooner and recover more quickly, with less pain, and a lower risk of complications and death than the traditional surgery. Our endovascular surgeon, Dr. Motta are leaders in this type of treatment in Palm Beach County. They have repaired the majority of AAA’s in this manner since 2002.

  2. Surgical Aneurysm Repair

    The traditional surgery for an AAA is the open aneurysm repair. During this surgery, an incision is made in your abdomen and the surgeon replaces the weakened part of your aorta with a tube-like graft. This tube replaces the diseased portion of your aorta and allows blood to pass easily through. The recovery period usually includes a hospital stay of 5 to 7 days, and take up 2 to 3 months for a complete recovery. Our vascular and endovascular surgeons have extensive experience repairing AAA’s with traditional open surgery.

Surgical Associates of Palm Beach County / Boca Care (SAPBC) is a multi-specialty surgical group practice with expertise in General, Breast, Vascular, Endovascular, Thoracic, Colon Rectal, and Surgical Oncology. Our office is located in Boca Raton Florida.

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