What to expect afterwards
After your operation, you may be taken to an intensive care unit (ICU; sometimes known as a critical care unit), where you will be closely monitored for around 24 hours. You may have a tube in your mouth, which passes into your windpipe (trachea) and is connected to a ventilator (a machine to help you breathe). This will be removed once you’re alert and can breathe by yourself.
You will be given painkillers to help with any discomfort as the anaesthetic wears off.
You can expect to stay in hospital for about three days.
The length of time your stitches will take to dissolve depends on what type you have. However, for this procedure they usually disappear within a couple of months.
When you're ready to go home, you will need to arrange for someone to drive you home. You may be given a date for a follow-up appointment.
What are the risks?
Endovascular aneurysm repair 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 EVAR, your groin area (where the stent was inserted) may feel sore for a few days.
Complications are when problems occur during or after the procedure. 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 EVAR are uncommon but can include:
- wound infection – you may need treatment with antibiotics
- graft migration – the graft may move from its position
- wire fracture or fabric tear – the wires or fabric of the stent graft may break
- limb thrombosis – one of the limbs of the stent graft may kink or block and cause swelling
- endovascular leak (or endoleak) – blood may leak outside the stent graft and increase pressure in the aneurysm
- kidney damage – depending on the location of the aneurysm, your kidney function may be affected
- graft infection – this is very rare, but serious, and usually means that your graft will have to be removed
You will need to have regular check-ups for the rest of your life after having endovascular repair.
The exact risks are specific to you and differ for every person, so we have not included statistics here. Ask your surgeon to explain how these risks apply to you.