Aneurysm treatment is important because aneurysms are often undetected until they become a serious and even life-threatening problem. Aortic aneurysms affect more than 200,000 people in the United States per year and are the 15th leading cause of death in Americans and the 10th leading cause of death in men over the age of 55. At Vascular Associates of South Alabama, our leading vascular specialists offer state-of-the-art approaches for aneurysm treatment as well as advanced methods for diagnosing aneurysms in their early stages. Our patients receive the most innovative and effective solutions in aneurysm treatment based on their unique needs.
What is an aneurysm?
An aneurysm is a weakened area in the wall of an artery that bulges or “balloons” outward. Aneurysms can occur anywhere, but most commonly they form in the aorta — the major artery leaving the heart. Aneurysms that form in the abdominal portion of the aorta are called abdominal aortic aneurysms, while those that form in the portion of the aorta located in the chest are called thoracic aneurysms.
Aneurysms are more common among men, people over the age of 55, smokers, and those with a first degree relative with the condition. There are a number of other risk factors that increase your risk of aneurysms:
- chronic lung disease
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- atherosclerosis or “hardening” of the arteries. (Peripheral Artery Disease or Coronary Artery Disease)
Other Risk factors include arterial injury and connective tissue disorder.
How is an aneurysm diagnosed?
Since most aneurysms cause subtle symptoms or no symptoms at all, the best way to detect or diagnose an aneurysm is a special screening evaluation that uses ultrasound to evaluate the arteries. During the exam, the ultrasound’s handheld device — called a transducer — is passed over the area, obtaining images of the arteries and looking for enlarged or bulging areas.
Screening is often recommended for people who have risk factors for aneurysms. In some cases, an aneurysm may be detected “accidentally” during diagnostic imaging like x-rays or CT scans that are performed for other issues.
Early detection of aneurysms is key to successful treatment. The physicians at Vascular Associates of South Alabama use the latest in equipment and techniques to detect and treat aneurysms as early as possible.
How does Vascular Associates of South Alabama treat aneurysms?
The treatment an aneurysm depends on its size and growth speed. When aneurysms are very small, they’re typically followed with routine monitoring to determine if they’re growing and if so, how quickly they’re expanding. Lifestyle changes to control hypertension, smoking cessation, and exercise are beneficial.
If an aneurysm is very large or symptomatic, or if other factors indicate a rupture or dissection is likely, surgery may be needed to repair the aneurysm. Each of our renowned vascular surgeons is specially trained in the most innovative, efficient aneurysm treatments to best serve our patient's individual needs.
If you are at risk or have a history of aneurysms, schedule a vascular evaluation with the experts at Vascular Associates of South Alabama. Our state-of-the-art endovascular lab and trained ultrasound specialists provide reliable, accurate care to aneurysm patients across Mobile and Baldwin Counties and surrounding areas.
We welcome the opportunity to treat new patients in South Alabama and surrounding areas. For your convenience, our practice accepts most major medical insurance plans.