Aortic Aneurysm/Dissection Treatment
The operation to repair an aortic aneurysm is performed under general anesthesia, which means you will be asleep during surgery.
Depending on the location of the aortic damage, the surgeon first makes an incision down the front of the chest or on the left side of the chest. The surgeon redirects blood from the heart to a bypass machine, which does the job of the heart and lungs during the operation.
Then, the surgeon opens the heart and exposes the aorta. The surgeon places clamps above and below the enlarged portion of the aorta, removes the damaged part, and replaces it with a fabric graft.
If the aortic valve is damaged, the surgeon may also repair or replace it.
For patients with aneurysms in the aortic root (the part of the aorta connected to the heart), our surgeons can perform a special procedure that preserves the aortic valve. This procedure is suitable only if a patient has normal aortic valve cusps and the diagnosis is made early.
Aortic valve-sparing surgery allows patients to avoid lifelong use of blood-thinning medications, and also reduces the risks of stroke or infection associated with valve replacement. It is especially beneficial for young adults.
After the aorta is repaired, the surgeon shuts down the heart-lung bypass machine, and the heart starts beating again. The surgeon then closes the breastbone and chest incision, and applies bandages to the incision site.