Less Invasive Procedure for Thoracic Aneurysms

Vascular surgeons at the Heart Lung Vascular Institute at the University of Tennessee Medical Center offer a new stenting procedure, with devices recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, to treat potentially deadly thoracic aneurysms.

An aneurysm is a bulge that develops in a weak spot of an artery wall. Most develop in the vessel that passes though the abdomen and are known as abdominal artery aneurysms. Approximately 25 percent develop where it passes through the chest and are known as thoracic aneurysms. They can grow and rupture, causing massive internal bleeding and death, if not treated.

The new minimally invasive procedure uses endografts delivered by a catheter inserted in the abdomen or through the femoral artery in the groin, eliminating the need for the traditional large, open incision in the chest wall.

“This procedure has many advantages for the patient over the traditional open surgery,” according to Vascular Surgeon Michael Freeman, MD. “The size of the inquisition is drastically reduced, along with the chance of infection. There also is less recovery time and less blood loss.”

Paraplegia is a major concern for traditional open surgery, since the blood supply is cut off to the lower half of the body. “As a surgeon, you are always concerned about any procedure that intentionally blocks blood flow to parts of the patient’s body,” said Vascular Surgeon Scott Stevens. “With the stent, you do not have to block blood flow to the spinal cord, liver and kidneys, so the risk of paraplegia faced in the traditional open surgery is drastically reduced. According to a recent study the risk of paraplegia drops from 14 percent to 3 percent with use of the stent.”

The procedure takes on the average of two to two and a half hours. Most patients are discharged from the hospital in one or two days and back to normal levels of activities soon after the procedure.

To make an appointment, call 865.305.6970