Endovascular Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Surgery
The aorta is the largest artery in the body.
It is also the most important blood vessel.
If there is a problem with your aorta or
arteries, the blood flow to the rest of your
body is decreased. An aortic aneurysm is
a weakened part of the artery. It looks
like a bulge or balloon in the wall of the
vessel. It can occur in the part of the
aorta that is in the chest or in the
abdomen. In the abdomen, it is called an
abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). If the
aneurysm bursts or tears, it can cause
Symptoms of aneurysm –you may not
have any symptoms but these may be
ξ Back or abdominal pain
ξ Pulsating feeling in abdomen
ξ Discolored feet
Endovascular AAA surgery
During endovascular AAA surgery, two
small incisions are made in the groin area
and a small catheter is inserted into the
artery. The surgeon inserts a small stent-
like device into the artery. Using a
machine like an X-ray, the doctor
watches the image of the thin, tube-
shaped device (graft) as it is threaded up
the artery. Once it reaches the aneurysm,
the device expands and in effect provides
a new wall for the artery.
What can I expect while in the
ξ You will have an IV until you are
able to drink liquids.
ξ You may have an IV in an artery
to watch your blood pressure.
ξ You may have a catheter to drain
urine from your bladder.
ξ The nurse will help you to get out
of bed as soon as you are ready.
ξ You will be taught how to use an
incentive spirometer to prevent
ξ Plan to go home the day after
How do I take care of myself when I go
Care of your incision
You may get your incision wet in the
shower. Do not swim or take tub baths
until told by your doctor. Clean the area
gently with mild soap and water and
remove any dried drainage. Groin
incisions should be covered with a Band-
Aid. Be sure your incision is dry before
you apply the Band-Aid. It is very
important to keep groin incisions dry.
Do not use any lotions, alcohol, or
powders until told by your doctor.
Look at your wound every day. Call
your doctor or the vascular clinic if you
notice any signs of infection. These
ξ An increase in redness or warmth
at the incision site
ξ Red streaks that start at the stitches
ξ New drainage from your wound
(drainage may be foul-smelling,
cloudy, yellow, or green)
ξ Bulging or increased swelling at
the incision site
ξ A temperature more that 101.5 θ F
(38.5 θ C) by mouth for two
readings taken 4 hours apart
ξ A sudden increase in pain at your
wound that is not relieved by your
At the time of discharge, you should
resume a number of your basic daily
routines. You will need to allow yourself
time for rest as you will tire easily. You
may feel weaker. This is normal. Your
strength and energy level will increase as
your body heals.
There are some things that you should
avoid in the first few weeks after surgery.
ξ Do not lift more than 5-10 pounds
during the first 2 weeks at home.
One gallon of milk is about 8
pounds. This includes groceries,
pets, and children.
ξ Do not drive until your doctor says
it is okay. In most cases this will
not be until after the first clinic
visit. Do not drive while taking
narcotic pain medicine.
ξ Ask your doctor at your follow-up
visit when you may return to work
and resume sexual activity.
It is normal to have some pain after
surgery. The pain will decrease as the
incision heals. Your doctor has
prescribed pain medicine for you to use
at home. As you heal, you should need
less pain medicine. You may then wish
to use an over the counter pain reliever.
Talk to your doctor before starting. It
may interfere with other medicines you
are taking. Do not drive while taking
narcotic pain medicine.
Narcotic pain medicine can make you
constipated. Use over the counter stool
softeners as needed. Drink plenty of
fluids and eat high fiber foods. Fruits
and vegetables (prunes, raisins, apples,
oranges, potatoes, spinach, and carrots)
and whole grain breads or rice have fiber.
Staying active also helps prevent
You may have loss of appetite and even
lose weight. You should still try to eat
because a healthy diet helps your body
You should also drink enough fluid to
stay hydrated. Dehydration can make you
feel more tired and weak. Drink at least 8
to 10 eight-ounce glasses of fluid each
As you become more active, your legs
may become more swollen. If this
happens, elevate your legs when sitting.
Your doctor may want you to wear anti-
embolism stockings or ace bandages
when you go home. These help reduce
swelling and return blood to the heart.
Apply them before walking. If you wear
ace bandages, they should be wrapped
snugly from toe to knee. Your nurse will
show you how to wrap them. Remove
them when you go to bed.
Try to quit smoking. Smoking delays
wound healing. It decreases blood flow,
shrinks arteries, and can raise your blood
pressure. If you would like help quitting,
call the Quit Line:
You will have a phone call from a
Vascular Surgery Nurse Practitioner
about 2 weeks after you go home. You
will be seen in the Vascular Surgery
Clinic about 4 weeks after you go home.
When to call your doctor
You should look at your incision for
signs of infection or breakdown two
times each day. Please call the doctor if
ξ Signs of infection at the incision.
ξ Open spots between the stitches
where the skin is pulling apart.
ξ If you notice the skin along the
incision is getting darker or turning
ξ Cold or discolored legs.
ξ Numbness, tingling, or loss of
movement in your legs or feet.
ξ A sudden increase in pain that is
not relieved by your pain
ξ A sudden increase in tenderness or
swelling in your leg.
ξ A temperature of more than 101.5 θ
F (38.5 θ C) by mouth for two
readings taken 4 hours apart.
Vascular Surgery Clinic
8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Monday through Friday.
After hours and on weekends, call
(608) 263-6400. Ask for the Vascular
Surgery doctor on call. Give your name
and phone number with area code. The
doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you have any
questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This is not medical
advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each person’s health needs are
different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using this information. If you have an
emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 12/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved.
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