When do I need surgery for an aneurysm?

Matthew R. Reynolds, DO
Vascular Surgery
Matthew Reynolds, DO from Largo Medical Center explains when surgery may be necessary for an aneurysm in this video.
Not all aneurisms require surgery, but the larger it grows, the more surgery becomes necessary. In this video, Thomas Beadle, MD of Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital elaborates on the importance of surgery, once an aneurism is large enough.
Mark J. Russo, MD
Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)

Surgery is recommended in order to prevent an aortic catastrophes, including aortic rupture or aortic dissection. An aortic rupture is typically a fatal event. An aortic dissection is associated with a high rate of death as well as other serious complications including heart attack, stroke, and paralysis. The risk of these events increases with aortic size.

For aneurysms less than 5 cm, the risk of aortic catastrophe is approximately 4-6% per year. When the aneurysm grows to 5-6 cm, the annual risk increases to as much as 12% per year, and at 7cm it exceeds 25% per year. Given these risks, surgery is usually recommended for patients with aneurysms 5-5.5cm in diameter.

Once an aneurysm reaches 5 to 6 cm in diameter, the risk of rupture is very high. If rupture occurs, there is approximately an 80 to 95% chance of death. Therefore, the majority of vascular surgeons would agree that a 5 to 6 cm aneurysm should be repaired immediately, unless other medical factors make surgery risky.

Continue Learning about Aneurysms


Aneurysms form balloons in weakened arteries of our bodies, potentially causing life-threatening problems such as a stroke. Although aneurysms can form in any weakened artery, they commonly occur in the arteries of the brain and i...

n the aorta, the central artery that extends from your heart through the center of your abdomen and chest. Certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, can weaken the arteries, which deliver oxygenated blood from our heart to the rest of our bodies. The pressure of blood traveling through the arteries can lead to this balloon-like bulge. You can have an aneurysm for years without symptoms or problems. Others can have an aneurysm that pops, which can lead to a stroke if bleeding occurs in the brain. Ruptured aneurysms must be treated quickly, usually within minutes, or it can become deadly: about 50% of all ruptured aneurysms are fatal.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.