Your doctor may recommend abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair to treat an aneurysm. An aneurysm is a bulging, weak spot in the aorta that may be at risk for rupturing. In this case, the aneurysm is in part of the aorta that is in the abdomen. Repair of an AAA may be done in one of two ways:
The doctor will determine which procedure is right for you.
An AAA may need repair for the following reasons:
There may be other reasons for your doctor to advise an AAA repair.
As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur. Some possible complications may include:
Tell your doctor if you are allergic to or sensitive to any medicines, contrast dyes, iodine, or latex.
There may be other risks depending on your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your doctor before the procedure.
Ask your healthcare provider to tell you what you need to do before your procedure. Below is a list of common steps that you may be asked to do.
After the procedure, a member of the surgical team will take you to the recovery room or the intensive care unit (ICU) to be closely watched. You will be connected to monitors that will display your heart activity, blood pressure, breathing rate, and your oxygen level.
You may have a tube in your throat to help you breathe until you can breathe on your own. As you continue to wake up from the anesthesia and start to breathe on your own, a healthcare provider will adjust the breathing machine to allow you to take over more of the breathing. When you are awake enough to breathe completely on your own and you are able to cough, the healthcare provider will remove the breathing tube.
After the breathing tube is out, your nurse will help you cough and take deep breaths every 2 hours. This may be uncomfortable due to soreness, but it is very important that you do this to keep mucus from collecting in your lungs. This can lead to pneumonia. Your nurse will show you how to hug a pillow tightly against your chest while coughing to help ease the discomfort.
Your nurse may give you pain medicine as needed. You may be on IV medicines to help your blood pressure and your heart, and to control any problems with bleeding. As your condition stabilizes, your doctor will gradually decrease then discontinue these medicines as your condition allows.
Once your provider removes the breathing tube and your condition has stabilizes, you may start liquids to drink. Your diet will move gradually to more solid foods as you are able to handle them.
If you have a drainage tube in your stomach, you will not be able to drink or eat until the tube is removed. Your provider will remove the drainage tube when your intestines work again. This is usually a few days after the procedure.
When your doctor decides that you are ready, you will be moved from the ICU to a postsurgical nursing unit. Your recovery will continue here. Your activity will be gradually increased as you get out of bed and walk around for longer periods.
Arrangements will be made for discharge from the hospital. This will include prescriptions for new medicines and directions for a follow-up visit with your doctor.
A member of the surgical team may take you to the intensive care unit (ICU) or a postanesthesia care unit (PACU). You will be connected to monitors that will display your heart activity, blood pressure, breathing rate, and your oxygen level.
You will remain in either the ICU or PACU for a time and then moved to a regular nursing care unit.
Your nurse will give you pain medicine or you may have had an epidural. This is anesthesia that is infused through a thin catheter into the space that surrounds the spinal cord in the lower back. It causes numbness in the lower body, abdomen, and chest.
Your activity will be gradually increased as you get out of bed and walk around for longer periods. You will start solid foods as you can handle them.
Arrangements will be made discharge from the hospital. This may include prescriptions for new medicines and directions for a follow-up visit with your doctor.
Once you are home, it will be important to keep the surgical area clean and dry. Your doctor will give you specific bathing instructions. Your doctor will remove the sutures or surgical staples during a follow-up office visit, if they were not before leaving the hospital.
The surgical incision may be tender or sore for several days after an aneurysm repair procedure. Take a pain reliever for soreness as advised by your doctor.
You should not drive until your doctor tells you it's OK. Other activity restrictions may apply.
Tell your doctor if you have any of the following:
Your doctor may give you other instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know: