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Open Repair of AAA


Open repair is performed under a general anaesthetic. A large (30cm) incision is made in the tummy to gain access to the aortic aneurysm.
Clamps (shown in blue) are then placed on the aorta above the aneurysm and the iliac arteries below the aneurysm to exclude it for the circulation. An incision (in red) is made in the wall of the aorta and any clot inside the aneurysm is removed.
A synthetic vascular graft is stitched onto the normal healthy artery above and below the aneurysm and the walls of the aorta are stitched together to enclose the graft within the vessel.
The clamps are then removed allowing blood to flow through the new graft and down into the legs. The tummy is stitched up.

Most patients are admitted to intensive care or a high dependency unit for a day or so after this surgery. Patients usually stay in hospital for a total of around 7-10 days. 

Even when the operation goes well it is usually several months before the patient feels as good as they did they day before surgery. 

Open AAA repair is very big operation that, even in the best of hands, is associated with a mortality and major complication rate of around 10%.  This is why vascular surgeons do not recommend AAA repair until the risk of rupture without repair is really quite high.  However, if the patient comes though their operation unscathed then the risk of rupture in the future is reduced to very low levels indeed.

To download our patient information sheet on AAA, please click here

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