What to Expect After Aortic Disease Surgery

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If you have open surgery for aortic disease, you will be moved to the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics intensive care unit (ICU) after the operation. There, we will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels and other vital signs. The medical staff will give you medication to help alleviate the pain around the incision site.
One to three days after surgery, you will be moved to a regular hospital room. While you are in the hospital, the surgeon may order blood tests, X-rays, ultrasound, or CT scans to evaluate the results of the operation. You will not be able to eat or drink for a few days.
As you recover, you will work with nurses and physical therapists to regain your strength and mobility. You may need to wear compression stockings to help prevent blood clots in your legs. Most patients who undergo open surgery can go home within five to seven days.
If you have less invasive surgery, you may not need to stay in the ICU after the operation. Your hospital stay is also shorter - usually three to five days. If you are treated with a catheter-guided endograft, your stay is even shorter - usually one to two days. Catheter-guided endograft may not be suitable for all patients. Ask your doctor if you are a candidate.
Regardless of the type of surgery you have had, you will return to the clinic for a follow-up within one month of your surgery.
Recovery time varies, depending on the type of operation you have had and how quickly your body heals. With open surgery, it may take three months before you can resume normal activity levels. With less invasive surgery or a catheter-guided endograft, you may be able to resume normal activity within two to six weeks.
After surgery, once you are home, we encourage to you to adopt an active, healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a heart-healthy diet.