CIRA’s fellowship-trained interventional radiologists are vascular experts who offer minimally invasive treatment for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) – a weakened area in the aorta, the main blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. When blood flows through the aorta, the pressure of the blood beats against the weakened wall, which then bulges like a balloon. If the balloon grows large enough, there is danger that it will burst. Once an aneurysm reaches 5 cm in diameter, it is necessary to treat it to prevent rupture. Conventional open surgery carries significant risk, but CIRA interventional radiologists offer a highly effective alternative to surgery called stent graft repair.
During this minimally invasive procedure, a CIRA interventional radiologist uses imaging to guide a catheter through the femoral artery and direct it to the aortic aneurysm. Through the catheter, the physician passes a compressed stent graft to the aneurysm. When the stent is opened, it creates new walls in the blood vessel through which blood flows. This method offers significant benefits for patients, especially those with severe heart disease who may not be able to tolerate major surgery, most notably a tiny incision in the groin vs. a large abdominal incision. This minimally invasive procedure offers a much quicker recovery, as well as a rapid return to normal activities.