Endovascular means inside or within a blood vessel, which is exactly how a small fabric tube that has metal stents attached to the fabric, called a stent-graft, is introduced into your body and moved into place.
First, small incisions are made in each groin to get to arteries that carry blood from the aorta. The surgeon then moves the stent-graft up through these arteries until it is opened inside the diseased portion of aorta. The stent-graft reinforces the weakened part of the vessel from the inside and creates a new channel through which the blood flows, eliminating the risk of rupture.
Using X-ray guidance, the surgeon places the graft in the area of the aneurysm. The graft is then opened up inside the aorta and held in place with metal hooks and stents rather than stitches. By tightly sealing the area with your artery above and below the aortic aneurysm, the graft allows blood to pass through it without pushing on the aneurysm.
This procedure usually takes 1 to 3 hours and patients typically leave the hospital in 1 to 2 days. The timeframe to return to normal activity ranges from 2 to 6 weeks.
Like any medical procedure, endovascular repair has a risk of complications. It also involves regular routine follow-up visits with your doctor to evaluate the stent-graft. These regular follow-ups are extremely important.