The risk of rupture is related to the size (diameter) of the aneurysm. Small aneurysms can be safely followed until they grow large enough that the risk of rupture outweighs the risk of surgical repair. If the aneurysm is small and not causing any pain it can be watched over time.
You may have to return to your doctor every six to 12 months for testing to make sure the aneurysm is not growing. Managing blood pressure and cholesterol during this time is important to try to reduce the rate of enlargement. If you smoke, make every effort to stop as cessation can reduce the aneurysm’s growth rate and reduce the risk of rupture.
It is also important to continue normal activities during watchful waiting and avoid a sedentary lifestyle so you can be in the best possible condition should surgery become necessary.
There are two treatments for correcting an abdominal aortic aneurysm: open surgical repair and minimally invasive endovascular repair (EVAR). At the CardioVascular Institute, the majority of abdominal aortic aneurysms are now treated with endovascular surgery.
The CVI helped pioneer the latest version of endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repair — Total Percutaneous AAA Repair — which not only avoids the need for an abdominal incision but also does away with having to cut into the groin. Instead, vascular surgeons make a small puncture in the skin of each side of the groin to gain access to the aneurysm. The vast majority of patients undergoing endovascular abdominal aneurysm repair at the CVI get this newer version of the procedure.
The endovascular approach is associated with a shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery time as well as a lower mortality rate. Patients also benefit from a reduction in postoperative wound infection rates.