Jay Hutchinson, age 67, born 8/29/30. Spent boyhood in New York City area, graduated from State College of Forestry at Syracuse N.Y. in 1952. Army 1952-54, in Korea. Married 1956. Attended University of Stockhom, Sweden, 1956-57. Worked in Spain 1957-59. MS in Forestry 1962. Worked for U.S. Forest Service 1962-93 as researcher, editor, popular writer. Have a son 40, daughter 39. Divorced 1985. Retired since 1993. Activities: Volunteer at St.Paul Conservatory; travel; botanical and wildlife writing.
Eight years ago, my brother, a radiologist, upon checking my CT scan for another problem, found that I had swellings in my right common and right internal iliac arteries of 1.1 and 1.8 centimeters respectively. He said I should have an ultrasound yearly to see if they were growing. Of course I kept putting it off until this past summer (1996), when an ultrasound and then a CT scan showed that the two aneurysms had grown to slightly over 3 cm in diameter. The scan also showed that I had an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) 4 cm in diameter which was considered to be well under the size usually operated on.
My brother and several other physicians, including two surgeons from my health plan, suggested that I should have surgery. I was 66 years old in August '96 but in fairly good shape owing to more than 25 years of regular aerobic exercise (swimming, jogging, cross-country skiing), a fairly low fat diet, and just plain luck. Still I wondered whether I should go ahead with the surgery considering that not much is known about iliac aneurysms, and they are much less common than AAA's. One physician suggested I could probably put off the operation for 6 months or a year, but that I should have it done eventually.
After contacting this excellent web site, and making inqueries of several of the physicians listed here, I decided to go ahead with the surgery in early October, 1996. I saved up 3 pints of blood for the operation as recommended by my surgeon. During surgery, the 3-cm aneurysm of the internal iliac artery was completely removed, the 4-cm aortic aneurysm was opened, and an inverted "Y" graft placed in it down to the left common iliac artery, and also down through the right common iliac aneurysm which was also laid open then wrapped, as with the aorta, around the graft. A small 1.2 cm aneurysm of the left internal iliac was also discovered but was not removed, so that blood could be provided to the lower abdominal area.
I went home from the hospital on the 8th day, and was able to walk slowly for 20 to 30 minutes by the last day in the hospital. In two months I was able to take it easy going cross-county skiing on the level, and now after almost 4 months, I am skiing nearly as much as I did last year before the surgery. I'm still about 4 pounds under my pre-surgery weight of 142, but hope to gain that back soon. I've been doing easy workouts on weight machines in the gym about once a week to try to build muscle mass. The chief discomfort I suffered from the procedure was a feeling of a low-level stomachache for about a month or so, beside the tiredness.
I'm very thankful for the advice and support gained on this web page, and would be happy to correspond with anyone who also might have iliac aneurysms.