Recovering from open surgery
If you need pain relief, you can take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Always read the patient information that comes with your medicine and if you have any questions, ask your pharmacist for advice.
You will probably feel tired for several weeks after the operation, but this will gradually improve.
It usually takes a few months to make a full recovery from this operation. But this can vary between individuals, so it’s important to follow your surgeon’s advice.
What are the risks?
Open surgery for aortic aneurysms is commonly performed and generally safe. However, in order to make an informed decision and give your consent, you need to be aware of the possible side-effects and the risk of complications.
Side-effects are the unwanted but mostly temporary effects you may get after having the procedure.
After open surgery for aortic aneurysms, your healing wound will feel sore and it may leak fluid. This usually clears after a few days.
Complications are when problems occur during or after the operation. The possible complications of any operation include an unexpected reaction to the anaesthetic, excessive bleeding or developing a blood clot, usually in a vein in the leg (deep vein thrombosis, DVT).
Other complications of open surgery for aortic aneurysm are uncommon but can include:
- wound infection – you may need treatment with antibiotics if your wound becomes infected
- impotence (loss of sexual activity) – this can affect some men if nerves in the abdomen are damaged during the operation
- spinal cord injury – this can leave you paralysed
- infection of the graft – this is very rare, but serious, and usually means that your graft will have to be removed
The exact risks are specific to you and differ for every person, so we haven't included statistics here. Ask your surgeon to explain how these risks apply to you.