What measurements trigger surgery for aneurysm?



December 13, 2018 - 9:28 AM

Dear Dr. Roach: I am a 68-year-old male in good health with a 3.3-centimeter aneurysm in my internal iliac artery. I have no symptoms. It was 1.9 cm eight years ago.

My physician says that an aneurysm measuring over 3 cm requires surgical intervention. I have looked at recent studies that say an aneurysm measuring less than 4 cm can be safely observed because a rupture under this size is extremely rare. I welcome your opinion on this matter. — T.R.

Answer: The internal iliac artery is one of the main blood vessels in the hip. The aorta branches into two common iliac arteries, left and right, which in turn branch into the internal and external iliac arteries. An aneurism is a dilation of the artery, and the big concern is a rupture, which is immediately life-threatening (about 15 percent of people will die in the first 30 days). Thus, repair is recommended before there is a significant risk of rupture.

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