Aortic Aneurysm Surgery


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Glossary

Abdominal cavity - the area of the body that holds the majority of the organs, located just below the thoracic cavity and above the pelvis. 

Abdominal ring retractor - a circular metal surgical instrument  that holds organs back during open abdominal surgery.

Abdominal wall - layers of muscle, fat and fascia surrounding the abdominal cavity.

Aneurysm - a widening and weakening of the artery wall.

Aorta - the largest artery in the body, carrying blood from the left ventricle of the heart to the brain, arms, chest cavity, organs and legs.

Atherosclerosis - also known as hardening of the arteries, that occurs when cholesterol, fat and other substances form plaques inside the arteries.

Cell saver - a machine that collects and cleans the blood removed during surgery so that it can be returned to the patient.

CT scan - Also known as computerized tomography.  This is an x-ray imaging technique that produces images of the body in cross section.   A typical x-ray is a flat picture of the body, similar to a photograph.  The CT scan is an x-ray unit that rotates around the body and uses a powerful computer to produce many cross-sectional views of the organ being scanned.

Embolism - obstruction of an artery, typically by a clot of blood or an air bubble. 

Femoral artery - the major artery of the thigh, which is a continuation of the iliac artery.

Iliac artery - the large artery supplying blood to the pelvis and legs.

Nasogastric tube - a tube inserted through the nose and into the stomach that is used to administer fluids and medications to someone who is unable to take in substances orally. It can also be used to suction out the contents of the stomach.

Omentum - a large structure primarily made of fat which drapes over the intestines inside the abdomen. 

Renal arteries - large arteries that supply the kidneys with blood.

Saline – a solution of salt and water.

Stent-graft - also known as an endo-graft.  A prosthetic tube placed via catheter in the aorta or other large blood vessels to repair an aneurysm.

Suture - the name of the material and the process used to 'stitch' something closed.

Ultrasound - the production of sound to penetrate a medium and measure the reflected sound. The reflection signature can reveal details about the structure of the medium. The most well known application of ultrasound is to produce pictures of fetuses in the human womb.