After Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Surgery

Dr. Patrick Neville of Memorial’s Heart and Vascular Center of Excellence describes the importance of follow-up care after abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) surgery.

What follow up is needed after surgery for an AAA?

One thing that’s unique about vascular surgery is that when you develop a relationship with a patient, that relationship doesn’t go away. Some specialties you do one operation, and you never see them again. We typically have a lifelong relationship with our patients, and that’s what we love about it.

But that’s especially true with aortic repairs when we use stent grafts. When your aneurysm is fixed with an endovascular device or a stent, that absolutely needs to be followed over time. And that is done with ultrasound, the same type of test that may have found the aneurysm, or with CAT scans. And the reason for that is the fix may have addressed the problem now, but again the aorta can grow and change as the person ages. What can happen is someone could go on to develop leaks where there’s a leak of blood around where the original seal was. Those are detected with an ultrasound or CAT scan. Those leaks can then pressurize the aneurysm, and the aneurysm can then regrow. It is very important that there is strict surveillance and follow up to get these things addressed.