Open Femoral Aneurysm Repair

What is femoral aneurysm?

Open Femoral Aneurysm Repair

Weakness in an artery (blood vessel carrying oxygenated blood to the body) can cause expansion or bulging of the artery at that region, a condition called an aneurysm. An aneurysm occurs most often in the aorta (main artery arising from the heart), but can also develop in other arteries in the body such as the brain, legs, kidneys, etc. Aneurysms can occur because of smoking, family history (genes) high blood pressure, high cholesterol or obesity.

A femoral aneurysm forms in the femoral artery, the artery supplying the thigh region, and is a less common type of aneurysm. Symptoms of a femoral aneurysm are often silent if the size of the aneurysm is small. However, you may experience a pulsating lump in the thigh, leg cramps during exercise (claudication), radiating pain, or numbness in the legs due to nerve compression. An aneurysm is a serious health concern, as with progressive weakening of the walls of the artery, it may continue to enlarge and eventually burst, causing bleeding (hemorrhage). In order to avoid rupture, your doctor will recommend surgery to treat a femoral aneurysm if it is symptomatic or has reached a large size.

What is open femoral aneurysm repair?

Open femoral aneurysm repair involves the removal of the aneurysm in the thigh region and insertion of a graft through an open surgical procedure.

What are the indications for open femoral aneurysm repair?

Open femoral aneurysm repair is indicated to treat large aneurysms or those that quickly increase in size. You may also require repair if the aneurysm blockages the flow of blood to your legs. Open femoral aneurysm repair can be performed as an emergency surgery when your doctor suspects a rupture (symptoms may include abdominal. leg or back pain) or when the aneurysm has already ruptured.

How do I prepare for the surgery?

Your physician obtains your medical history and conducts a physical examination. Imaging tests such as computed tomography (CT) scan, ultrasound or magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) may also be ordered to locate the aneurysm.

Before the surgery, you will be given instructions about when you need to stop taking food and liquids (8 hours prior to surgery) and which medications you have to stop taking.

What happens during open femoral aneurysm repair?

Open femoral aneurysm repair is carried out under general anesthesia. An incision is made in your groin to expose the site of the aneurysm. The region above and below the aneurysm site is clamped so that there is no blood flow through that area. Your surgeon then opens the aneurysm and removes any blood clot and plaque deposits (deposition of calcium and cholesterol) that may have formed due to the aneurysm. A graft made of Dacron or expanded polytetrafluoroethylene is then placed at the site of the aneurysm, and one end of the graft is sewn to the normal section of the artery above the aneurysm and the other end to the normal section of artery below the aneurysm. In some cases, a small piece of vein from your leg may be removed and used to replace the section where the aneurysm is located. Following repair of the aneurysm, the clamps will be released and the incision sutured closed.

What can I expect after open femoral aneurysm repair?

You will need to stay in the hospital for several days after the surgery for monitoring. Your diet will be advanced to solid food as tolerated and activity gradually increased. You will be advised not to lift heavy objects. Your doctor will regularly check your graft using imaging tests to ensure that it is functioning appropriately.

Are there any complications of open femoral aneurysm repair?

Some of the complications that may occur after an aneurysm surgery include, but are not limited to:

  • Swelling
  • Urinary or respiratory tract infections
  • Infection
  • Heart, breathing, colon or kidney problems
  • Death

Eating a healthy diet, quitting smoking and maintaining an ideal body weight helps reduce these risks and maintain a healthy lifestyle after the surgery.

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