An endovascular stent graft is a fabric tube, supported by a metal mesh, called a stent that is used to support a weak spot in an artery, called an aneurysm – in many cases, an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
An abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs when the large blood vessel (aorta) that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis and legs becomes abnormally large or balloons outward.
At TriHealth, we use a minimally invasive approach called endovascular stent grafting to surgically treat an abdominal aortic aneurysm. During this procedure, your doctor will make a small surgical cut near the groin, to find the femoral artery. From there, your doctor will insert a stent (a metal coil) and a synthetic graft through the cut into the artery.
Your doctor then uses x-rays to guide the stent graft up into your aorta, where the aneurysm is located. Once the aneurysm is located, your doctor will open the stent using a spring-like mechanism, which he or she will attach to the walls of the aorta. Your aneurysm will eventually shrink around it. The graft is stronger than the weakened artery and it allows your blood to pass through it without pushing on the bulge, thus minimizing the risk for the aneurysm to rupture.
Surgery is usually recommended for those who have an aneurysm bigger than 2 inches (5.5 cm) across, or in cases in which the aneurysm is growing quickly. The normal diameter of the aorta in the abdomen is about 2 cm. An aneurysm is considered to have formed if the aorta grows to more than 1.5 or two times its normal diameter.
Stent grafts are used to treat a variety of vascular conditions, including: