Medical Q&As

Aortic aneurysm - stent graft?

My father has been diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm. He is eighty years old and in good health for his age. His consultant is going to perform a stent graft. Can you tell me about this procedure and what the recovery time is?

Stent grafting for aortic aneurysm is a relatively new procedure. The stent graft looks like a length of tubing that consists of a woven polyester tube that is in turn covered by a web of metal tubing. It is inserted into the aorta via an incision in the femoral artery. The surgeon makes a small incision in the groin and passes the stent graft into the femoral artery and then guides it up to the aorta with the assistance of x-ray imaging. The stent is then positioned within that section of the aorta where the aneurysm has formed. Once the stent is properly positioned the personís blood then flows through the stent, which protects the wall of the swollen blood vessel from rupture. The stent can be considered to be an inner sleeve within the aorta. This procedure has the considerable advantage of being less invasive than the more traditional open repair of an aortic aneurysm. It takes half the length of time involved in the more traditional abdominal repair. Recovery time postoperatively is much shorter because an abdominal incision is not necessary for the insertion of the stent. Depending on the personís overall condition it is usually possible to leave hospital after a few days following the successful insertion of a stent.