The aorta is the body’s largest blood vessel, delivering oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body. An aneurysm—a weak spot in the aorta wall that can expand and possibly rupture—can occur anywhere along the aorta. An aneurysm (or aneurysms) involving both the upper (thoracic) and lower (abdominal) sections is called a thoracoabdominal aneurysm. In some cases, surgical or endovascular repair of the aneurysm is required to reduce the chances of life-threatening complications.
Temple specialists offer both traditional and minimally invasive (endovascular) treatment options for thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms. Endovascular treatment may be more suitable for patients who are unable to undergo traditional surgery because of age or other health conditions, or because of the size and severity of the aneurysm. Treatment options include:
Endovascular Aneurysm Repair (EVAR)
A minimally invasive technique, EVAR may offer less pain, smaller incisions, and fewer complications than traditional surgery. In this procedure, the surgeon uses a catheter—a thin, flexible plastic tube—to carry a compressed stent through the blood vessels to the site of the aneurysm(s) within the aorta. As the catheter is removed, the stent (made of a strong mesh) remains in place, springing open to provide a strong, tight-fitting scaffold for the aortic wall. Other minimally invasive procedures such as a coronary artery bypass graft surgery or a heart valve repair may be performed at the same time as EVAR.
Surgical Aneurysm Repair
In this traditional open surgery, the surgeon may use grafts—synthetic fabric patches or live tissue transplanted from elsewhere in the patient's body—to repair the aortic wall. They may also install small clamps to channel blood away from the site of the aneurysm. If the aneurysm has ruptured, this procedure can be performed on an emergency basis.
Temple’s cardiovascular and vascular surgeons are highly experienced in complex aortic surgery, including endovascular and open aneurysm repair. They have the special skills and facilities needed for advanced aortic repairs, and their experience guides them in recommending options for patients. They are committed to comprehensive and supportive care throughout the surgical process, and are available for immediate evaluations and second opinions.