Endovascular surgery is a novel technique and is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to correct problems of the blood vessels such as an aneurysm (swelling of the blood vessel).The surgery is performed by making a small incision near each hip to gain access to the blood vessels. A special fabric tube device with stainless steel self-expanding stents (called as endovascular graft) is passed through the arteries with the help of a catheter and positioned inside the aorta. This graft expands and seals off the aneurysm and prevents the entry of blood into aneurysm. Finally, X-rays will be taken to confirm that blood in the aorta flows through this graft and not through the aneurysm. The incisions will then be closed with sutures.
Endovascular surgery has numerous advantages over open surgery such as a shorter recovery time, minimal discomfort, can be performed under local or regional anaesthesia rather than general anaesthesia, smaller incisions, and minimal risks associated with surgery.
Preparation for Surgery
Before endovascular surgery, your doctor will take your medical history and perform a thorough physical exam. Your surgeon may order for some tests to determine the functions of heart, such as a stress test and an electrocardiogram (ECG). In addition, a CT scan and angiography may be done to view your aorta and blood vessels. These tests also help to select the appropriate sized graft.
Post-operative recovery may require a stay of two to three days in the hospital. You have to follow the post-operative instructions about diet and incision care as directed by your surgeon. Most patients resume their normal activities within 4-6 weeks after surgery.
Your surgeon will schedule follow-up appointments to evaluate your progress. Imaging tests will be done after 6 months of surgery to ensure proper functioning of the graft.
As with any major surgical procedure, there will be potential complications following endovascular surgery that may include, but are not limited to:
- Blockage of blood flow through the graft
- Fever and increased white blood cell count following the surgery
- Fracture of the graft
- Blood may start leaking around the graft
- Displacement of the graft away from its targeted position
Other rare complications may include:
- Blood flow to the abdomen or lower part of the body may be interrupted
- Burst artery
- Delayed rupture of the aneurysm
- Injury to the kidneys