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Why Choose Penn Medicine

Penn surgeons have been using thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) since the early 1990s, when the technology was first introduced. We lead the field in designing and using innovative devices to treat complex aortic disease using an endovascular (minimally invasive) approach.

Thanks to our involvement in clinical trials, patients within the Aortic Center have access to endovascular devices not available elsewhere. The partnership between cardiac and vascular surgeons ensures patients receive treatment in any part of the aorta, which extends from the chest to the belly.

TEVAR Procedure Overview 

Penn surgeons offer TEVAR for patients who cannot tolerate traditional aorta surgery. These patients have a thoracic aortic aneurysm or aortic ulcer that puts them at risk for aortic dissection. TEVAR is a minimally invasive procedure that requires only a tiny incision. You will receive medicine that numbs the incision area or that puts you to sleep, depending on your needs. Next, your surgeon:

  • Makes a tiny incision in the groin and threads a tube (catheter) up to the aorta.
  • Places a graft (a thin metal stent covered with fabric) into the catheter and advances it to your aorta using X-ray guidance.
  • Uses special tools to expand the graft and fasten it in place so blood can flow through the aorta and avoid the aneurysm (as a result, the aneurysm will shrink over time).
  • Removes the catheter and closes the incision.

Branched Endografts Improve Treatment Options

Some aortic aneurysms occur in parts of the aorta where vessels branch off to supply extremities or organs with a blood supply. In these cases, cardiac surgeons perform endovascular aneurysm repair using branched, or fenestrated, endografts. Your surgeon uses the same TEVAR technique to advance a graft to the diseased region of the aorta. They then expand it so the branches on the graft extend into the natural branches protruding off the aorta.

Penn’s cardiac and vascular surgeons are working to develop more branched endografts through clinical trials. These innovative devices provide endovascular options for people with many different types of aortic disease.

Benefits of TEVAR

Aortic aneurysm and ulcer repair using TEVAR and endografts comes with the benefits of minimally invasive surgery, including:

  • Smaller incision
  • Less pain
  • Shorter recovery
  • Fewer medical complications, including infection

Cardiac Rehabilitation After TEVAR

While TEVAR is a minimally invasive procedure, you may still benefit from cardiac rehabilitation delivered by a team of specialists. Cardiac rehab occurs in an outpatient setting and includes exercise, nutrition, education and support.

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