An aneurysm is an abnormal bulge or ballooned area in the wall of a blood vessel. They can be caused by atherosclerosis, hypertension, congenital abnormality, or aging. Smoking, in particular, can increase the risk of an aneurysm. The two most common types of aneurysms are thoracic aortic aneurysm (occurring in the aorta as it passes through the chest cavity) and abdominal aortic aneurysm (occurring in the aorta as it passes through the middle to low abdomen).
Aneurysms can be treated with medications or may require surgery if it is growing quickly or is at risk of rupture or dissection. Treatment methods are based on the size and progression of the aneurysm. Small aneurysms that are found early and aren’t causing symptoms may not need treatment. Other aneurysms do need to be treated. The goals of treating an aneurysm are to prevent the aneurysm from growing, prevent or reverse damage to other body structures, and prevent or treat a rupture or dissection. If your aneurysm requires surgery, your vascular surgeon will either perform an open aneurysm repair or an endovascular aneurysm repair.