A thoracic aneurysm is by definition a dilatation or widening of the aorta or branch vessel in the chest. Usually if the aorta is one and a half times its normal diameter an aneurysm is said to be present. The abnormality may be in the ascending aorta, arch, or descending thoracic aorta.
Most often thoracic aneurysms produce no symptoms. They are seen on routine chest x-ray or imaged on CT scan of the chest. Modern CT angio can produce 3 dimensional images that can be reconstructed and rotated and viewed from different angles. These studies help determine possible treatment options.
Evaluating the risk versus benefit of aneurysm repair involves balancing the size, location and appearance of the aneurysm versus the operation required for repair, considering the age and overall health of the patient.
Classic thoracic aneurysm repair requires major chest surgery and use of the heart/lung machine, whereas newer repair options involve placing a stented graft through the femoral (groin) artery. The newer repair methods can be used to exclude aneurysms of the descending thoracic aorta. Successful stent grafting helps eliminate the risks of a more extensive surgical procedure and allows for recovery in a few days. CVT Surgical Center can evaluate and recommend treatment options for any type of thoracic aneuysm and we have experience in stent graft repair.