Aortic aneurysm, i.e. the swelling of aorta is basically of two types: Thoracic aortic aneurysm and Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm out of which the abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is more common. However, irrespective of the type, the only treatment of aneurysm is surgery and especially if it bursts. To understand the surgical process and its recovery time we first need to understand the pathology of an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).
Pathology of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) occurs when the abdominal part of the aorta (part which runs down through the stomach area) swells up and becomes about 1.5 times more than the usual. That particular area becomes weak and swells up. Sometimes the aortic walls become so weak that the aneurysm gets ruptured. This condition is fatal and requires immediate medical care. Also many times the patient dies while on the way to hospital. The exact cause of aneurysm formation is not known but generally it occurs in people aged between 40-60 and specially males. Also people, who suffer from hypertension, do excessive smoking, have high cholesterol or have such history in parents or siblings are more likely to suffer from aneurysm. Obesity can also be one of the causes of developing an aneurysm in the later stage of life.
The major risk involved in abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is that it does not show any symptoms and it is not diagnosed until there is another regular checkup such as a chest X-ray. It comes into picture only when it bursts and the patient feels intense pain which radiates outwards.
Risks Involved with Surgical Process for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)
The rate of bursting of an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is quite low, especially when the diameter of aneurysm is less than 5.5 cm. When it increases in size the chances of bursting in increased and surgery is required. The risk involved with the rupture and the surgery is different in different individuals. The decision has to be taken by the experts of the cardio vascular system. The surgical process will be carried out when the risk of bursting of aneurysm is higher than the risk of surgery. Surgery shall take place only when the diameter of the aneurysm has reached it maximum limit.
What is the Recovery Time For Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Surgery?
The operation of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) involves an incision downwards or across the abdomen. The segment of aorta with necrosis is removed and changed with an artificial tube or blood vessel. This is known as grafting. Once the grafting has been done, the aneurysm has is packed for additional protection and prevention of bleeding. The incisions are either stitched or closed with clips which are removed after 10 days of surgery. The surgery in risky but has proved to be successful in most of the cases and the results are good and long lasting.
Post surgical effects will be seen in most of the patients. They might feel more tired and exhausted than the normal and this may go on up to several weeks. There will difficulty in performing regular chores of the day. This is the time when lifting of heavy objects and strenuous activities should be completely avoided. The usual activities can be continued after a month but 2-3 months are required to recover completely depending on the patient.
Some patients may also feel stressed and emotionally low while the recovery period of the surgery which is quite normal but this feeling also vanishes as the recovery takes place. If the emotional lowness or depression continues the patient can consult a doctor or a counselor for treatment and support which makes the patient feel better.
- Mayo Clinic – Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/abdominal-aortic-aneurysm/symptoms-causes/syc-20350688
- Cleveland Clinic – Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17594-aortic-aneurysm
- Society for Vascular Surgery – Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: https://vascular.org/patient-resources/vascular-conditions/abdominal-aortic-aneurysm