After Open Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Surgery

You have had surgery to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). This occurs when the main blood vessel in your abdominal area weakens and expands like a balloon. Your doctor placed a graft to replace the part of your aorta that was weak. Here's what you need to know following surgery.

Home care

  • Avoid strenuous activity for 4 to 6 weeks after your surgery.

  • Ask your doctor how long it will be before you can return to work.

  • Gradually increase your activity. It may take some time for you to return to your normal activity level.

  • Don’t drive for 2 weeks after surgery or while you are taking opioid pain medication. Ask someone to take you to any appointments.

  • Check your incision every day for signs of infection (swelling, redness, drainage, or warmth).

  • Keep your incision clean. Wash it gently with soap and water when you shower.

  • Don’t lift anything heavier than 5 pounds for 2 weeks after surgery.

  • Avoid sitting or standing for long periods without moving your legs and feet.

  • Keep your feet up when you sit in a chair.

  • Take your medications exactly as directed.


When to call your doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Redness, pain, swelling, or drainage from your incision

  • Fever above 101°F (38.3°C)

  • Sudden coldness, pain, or paleness in your leg

  • Loss of feeling in your legs

  • Severe or sudden pain in your abdomen

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Trouble breathing

  • Pain or heaviness in your chest or arms