If you have some weakness of the thoracic aorta, a part of the artery that runs through the chest, or your thoracic aorta bulges and expands, you have a condition known as a thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA). Some of these problems occur primarily in the chat while most involve the artery that runs through the abdominal area. If this artery bursts or ruptures, it can cause severe internal bleeding, shock, and death. Smoking, high blood pressure, and a family history of aneurysms are some factors that can increase your risk of aneurysm formation.
Treatment Options for an Aortic Aneurysm
If your TAA is still fairly small and you are not having any major symptoms, your physician may recommend waiting up to six months to gauge whether there are any serious changes. You may need to have CT and MRI scans every six months to determine whether there are any changes in the aneurysm. If the TAA is fairly large and you are experiencing one or more severe symptoms, you will need surgery immediately to prevent any type of rupture.
Open heart surgery or a grafting procedure are the two options for thoracic aneurysm resection procedures. Both are performed under general anesthesia and will require a hospital stay. Your vascular surgeon will determine what type of procedure is most appropriate for you given your symptoms and results of tests.
Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm Resection Procedure
Surgery of the thoracic aortic aneurysm is necessary when there is a very high risk of rupture, dissection, or even death. A resection involves repairing the damaged valves or replacing them entirely to restore proper functioning.
The procedure is typically performed by dividing the breastbone to access the artery in the chest or abdominal area. In some cases, an incision is made in the side between the ribs so that the diseased portion of the aorta can be removed and replaced with grafting materials.
Life After a Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm Resection Procedure
Most patients need to stay in the hospital for up to a week or 10 days after surgery. If you are undergoing a more complex procedure or if you have other health issues, such as kidney disease, lung disease, or heart disease, you may need up to three months to recover completely from surgery.
Learn more about the thoracic aortic aneurysm resection procedure by scheduling your appointment at our Los Angeles or Glendale office today!