Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm


Illustruation of abdominal aortic aneurysm

The majority of aortic aneurysms are abdominal aortic aneurysms. While small abdominal aortic aneurysms rarely rupture, they can grow very large without causing symptoms.

The typical size of an abdominal aorta is 2 to 3 centimeters: about the size of a quarter. An enlarged abdominal aorta is typically greater than 3 centimeters. All patients with an enlarged aorta who do not meet surgical criteria need regular surveillance and monitoring. This may include testing by CT scan or ultrasound imaging.

Surgical Treatment for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Arterial anatomy not suitable for minimally invasive repair at other hospitals may be treated at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center using minimally invasive techniques. We have significant experience treating not only straightforward abdominal aortic aneurysms, but also those that affect multiple branch arteries and require complex, open, minimally invasive, or hybrid techniques.

Minimally Invasive Treatment for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

About 70 percent of our patients are candidates for minimally invasive repair, called endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR), a cutting-edge procedure that requires a small incision in the groin (to insert a catheter), followed by the placement of a stent graft inside the aneurysm to reinforce weak spots in the artery. This procedure is very effective in preventing aneurysm rupture, shortens the length of hospital stay and greatly reduces major complications.

For those who don’t qualify for EVAR, the fenestrated endograft is a relatively new minimally-invasive option for people with abdominal aortic aneurysms. The fenestrated endograft is inserted into the femoral artery through a groin incision, then guided through the blood vessel to the aneurysm.

High-Volume, High-Quality Care for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

We are one of the highest volume centers for abdominal aortic aneurysm in Michigan. With nine physicians dedicated to providing the highest quality of care for abdominal aortic aneurysms, our multidisciplinary program brings together a team of specialists to review complex cases and create the best treatment plan, individualized for each patient.

Our experts can manage complex aortic disease including abdominal aortic aneurysm and all conditions associated with it, including:

  • Aortic infection
  • Penetrating ulcer with pseudoaneurysm
  • Post-traumatic aneurysm
  • Small aneurysms that thrombose (aortic occlusion)

Not all patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms require immediate surgical treatment. We can provide comprehensive care and monitor the progressions of these aneurysms until surgical criteria is reached.

Patient Resources

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Information Guide

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment to discuss your need for aneurysm or other cardiovascular treatment, call the U-M Cardiovascular Center toll-free at 888-287-1082 or email us at CVCCallCtr@med.umich.edu. Visit our Make an Appointment page for more information about what to expect when you call us.