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How Doctors Repair an Aneurysm

An aneurysm occurs when a portion of a blood vessel becomes weak and the wall of the vessel bulges. Aneurysms become very dangerous if they continue to enlarge, which increases the risk of the aneurysm bursting.

Aneurysms can occur in many parts of the body but are most common in the aorta and the arteries that lead into the brain. The single most common site of an aneurysm is in the abdominal aorta.

Sometimes, an aneurysm occurs that isn't causing symptoms or problems. If an aneurysm grows too large, begins to cause symptoms, or ruptures, you will undergo an aneurysm repair.

Repairing an Aneurysm

Aneurysms can be repaired with surgery.

After you are placed under general anesthesia, surgeons will make an incision to reach the aneurysm and the artery will be clamped above the aneurysm to stop blood flow into the area. Then, the surgeons will repair the aneurysm using one of many options available.

The surgeons will remove any blood clots and plaque from the aneurysm. A graft may be attached in place of the vessel where the aneurysm occurred. The graft can be artificial or made from a vessel in another part of your body. Artificial grafts are often used for aneurysms in the aorta in order to match the large diameter of that blood vessel.

If the aneurysm occurs in a smaller blood vessel, a section of a vein from another part of your body may be removed and attached to take the place of the vessel with the aneurysm. After treatment, the graft remains inserted and acts as a blood vessel.

Another procedure to relieve the pressure on an aneurysm involves the use of clamps or coils to stop blood flow into the aneurysm. This procedure is often used for aneurysms in the head.

Like most cardiac procedures, less invasive techniques are being developed to repair aneurysms. An endovascular procedure uses a catheter inserted through a blood vessel and guided to the aneurysm. The catheter then inserts a fabric tube at the site of the aneurysm, allowing blood to flow through the tube instead of exerting pressure onto the aneurysm.


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