Why do I need surgery for an aneurysm if I feel okay?

Aneurysms are often discovered incidentally during a medical test performed for an unrelated reason. Patients may have a cough or a chest cold, and an x-ray is performed that reveals an aneurysm. Or your doctor may hear a murmur, prompting an echocardiogram, which reveals an aneurysm. If you are in this position, you now may be thinking, "I wish I never had that x-ray, because now that this aneurysm was discovered."

Let me assure you that you are, in truth, very lucky. This cannot be overstated. Aneurysms rarely cause any symptoms. It is far better for you to find your aneurysm than for it to find you. The operation to fix an aneurysm is much less complicated than the operation to fix an aortic dissection. Moreover, you have a choice now, and you can take proactive steps to prevent life-threatening complications from occurring. You can seek several opinions and find a surgeon and a hospital where you are comfortable. Once a complication of an aneurysm occurs, however, your life is in jeopardy. In the event that you survive the initial tear, you will be taken to the nearest hospital and an emergency operation will be performed. Your surgeon may not specialize in the disease and may not be familiar with some of the advances in the field of aortic surgery.

Because your aneurysm has been detected before it became a life-threatening emergency, your situation now is far better. You can meet with a surgeon, discuss the options, meet with your family, arrange time away from work, and then schedule a procedure at a time that makes sense. Elective surgery is far more safe and convenient than emergency procedures.

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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.