After a routine physical in March, my doctor discovered an abdominal aneurysm. An ultrasound in April confirmed his diagnosis. The size was 4.3 to 4.6 centimeters. I was told by two surgeons to wait for approximately 6 months for another ultrasound or CT scan to determine whether surgery would be necessary. Rather than wait the full six months I insisted that a CT scan be done in early September. The reason for a CT scan rather than ultrasound is that the scan is a more accurate test to determine the true size of the aneurysm. Sure enough the size had increased from 4.6 to 5.4 centimeters. (Note: I had different opinions from the radiologist and the surgeons as to size) Everyone seems to agree that 5cm is the threshold for surgery.
After consultation with my surgeon we scheduled the surgery for 6 October, 1998. I had previously opted to change my group insurance coverage from a very well known medical center here in Los Angeles to UCLA Medical center. This decision was partially motivated by friends in the medical profession and information I considered from this web page and others regarding the benefits of surgery at teaching hospitals. I'm currently at home recuperating and think I'm doing quite well.
The reasons for my successful recovery is my age:58, overall physical condition: very good (do have high blood pressure), and I think, the one week hospital stay. Sure I'm weak but that will get better. My advice to those of you contemplating surgery. Get it done. Of course it is serious but at major medical facilities it is almost routine. Noteworthy is the fact the my surgeon used a bifurcated graft because of a slight enlargement of the arteries into my legs. This, he said, would prevent any future problems with my legs. By the way I decided against (with my surgeons advice) the endovascular surgery primarily because the long term results are just not persuasive. Especially for patients my age or younger.