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News from Unity

Percutaneous Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair Completed at Unity Hospital

A percutaneous endovascular repair of an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) has been performed at Unity Hospital for the first time. The surgery was performed by Malur R. Balaji, M.D., F.A.C.S., A.B.V.M., chief of vascular surgery at Unity Hospital.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a bulging of the aorta, the large blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. This bulging weakens the wall of the aorta and can cause it to rupture, which can lead to death. When an aneurysm reaches a certain size, repair is needed to keep it from growing bigger and eventually rupturing.

Dr. Balaji performed a percutaneous endovascular repair- a procedure done through a small puncture of the skin. This sophisticated procedure involves inserting the tubes and catheters needed for endovascular repair through tiny nicks over the groin arteries. No large incisions are made. A microsurgical device is used to insert sutures through the same opening made to insert a synthetic graft system in the aorta.

“Percutaneous endovascular repair is not only less invasive than other methods of repair; it also may mean a lower risk of groin complications,” said Dr. Balaji. “This procedure reduces the risk of complications, and length of stay.”

Before the percutaneous repair became an option, two other methods of surgery were used. In open surgical repair a large incision is made in the abdomen or the patient’s side. The surgeon then cuts open the aneurysm, and sews in a synthetic graft to divert blood away from the diseased section. Patients typically remain in the hospital for more than a week to recover, and need several weeks to recuperate.

In traditional endovascular repair, a less invasive procedure than open surgery, two incisions are made over the groin area. The aneurysm is then sealed off with a special device that is put inside the aorta. Patients who undergo this procedure can resume normal activity a few days after the procedure.

More recently the percutaneous endovascular procedure, which is much more sophisticated, has become an option for patients.

Each year in the U.S. about 200- thousand people are diagnosed with AAA. Experts are still trying to fully understand what causes the weakening of the wall of the aorta.

Unity Hospital is an affiliate of Unity Health System, a 681-bed health care network serving the city of Rochester and western Monroe County. The hospital’s specialty units include intensive care surgery, chemical dependency and mental health, obstetrics, brain injury rehabilitation, and skilled nursing. Unity Hospital is accredited by The Joint Commission, and is affiliated with the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.