What to Expect from Thoracic Endovascular Aneurysm Repair

Prior to Surgery

  • You may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), Clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood thinners.
  • Ask your doctor which drugs you should still take on the day of the surgery.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that you may have.
  • You will have blood samples taken in case you need a blood transfusion.
  • Let your doctor know if you have a cold, flu, fever, herpes breakout or other illness prior to surgery. This may require that your reschedule your procedure.
  • Do not smoke. This will help you to recover quicker.

On the Day of the Surgery

  • You will usually be asked not to drink or eat anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.

After Surgery

  • You will remain in the hospital for two to three days following the procedure.
  • You will have a dressing over your surgical site for the next few days. You will need to keep if dry and avoid showering.
  • You will not be able to drive for one to two weeks.
  • Avoid lifting anything weighing more than 10 pounds for four to six weeks.
  • This surgery has a quick recovery with most patients feeling much better within the first week, but full recovery takes four to six weeks.

Recovery: what to expect in the next few weeks

  • While you may feel much better after the first week, you need to follow your physician’s orders on recommended activities.
  • You will have follow-up appointments and additional imaging tests in one and six months to ensure that the stent is functioning correctly and has remained in place.
  • If all is OK, your doctor may recommend that you have yearly tests to check on the site.

Thoracic Endovascular Aneurysm Repair Q&A

What does endovascular aneurysm repair involve?

A patient is awake, but is given medication to relax and the incision site is numbed. Your cardiologist will make a small incision in a femoral artery that supplies blood to your leg. A guide wire travels through the artery and beyond the site of the thoracic aneurysm. The stent, which is contained within a catheter, is guided to the site over the guide wire.

Once in place, the catheter is removed, leaving the stent-graft to expand against the walls of the aorta on either side of the aneurysm. This reinforces the walls and helps the blood flow freely through the region.

How many incisions are made?

One incision is made in the upper thigh.

How long do I stay in the hospital?

Patients will normally stay two to three days in the hospital.

What is the recovery time?

Most patients feel better after the first week, but should limit activities. Do not lift object weighing more than 10 pounds for four to six weeks. Driving and bathing will be limited during the first couple of weeks.