Updated January 2022
When an aneurysm is small, your doctor may want to have you come back for periodic checkups to see if it grows. If the aneurysm is larger, or growing quickly, the risk is higher that the aneurysm may burst. In that case, your doctor may recommend treatment.
If the aneurysm is less than 5 centimeters your doctor may recommend medical management as the first treatment option to help lower blood pressure and relax your blood vessels.
Surgery can be performed to repair the section of the aorta that has an aneurysm. To reach an abdominal aneurysm, a doctor makes a cut through the abdomen or side of the patient. To reach a thoracic aneurysm, the doctor cuts through the breastbone or the side of the chest. In both cases, the doctor repairs the aorta by replacing the section of the aorta that has an aneurysm with a flexible fabric tube, called a graft. The graft is sewn into place and acts as a replacement blood vessel. While placing the graft, the doctor temporarily stops blood from flowing through the aorta.
Endovascular repair is an alternative to open surgical repair. Instead of making a large cut in the abdomen or cutting open the chest, the doctor makes a small cut near each hip to access the femoral arteries, a large blood vessel in your thigh. A stent graft is inserted into the arteries through a small delivery catheter that allows it to travel to the aorta. Once it has been positioned in the aorta, the stent graft seals off the aneurysm and makes a new path for the blood to flow through. The stent graft remains inside the aorta permanently. This can prevent further growth and possible rupture.
Important note: Open surgical repair and endovascular repair are not options for every patient. Both types of repair have pros and cons. The best repair will depend on your condition and needs. Talk about the pros and cons with your doctor.
Remember, every patient is different, and your doctor knows you best. After reading the information on this site, make an appointment to talk to your doctor to help you make the right decision about any treatments or procedures.