Vascular surgeons use many types of treatments to fix damaged blood vessels. For some patients, endovascular surgery \u2014 a less invasive option than open surgery \u2014 can offer many benefits, from a shorter hospital stay to a quicker recovery time.\nBut like all medical procedures, endovascular surgery isn’t without risks. Find out more about the pros and cons of endovascular surgery and how to talk with your surgeon about what’s right for you.\nRELATED:\u00a0What is Minimally Invasive (Robotic) Heart Surgery?\nWhat Is Endovascular Surgery?\nEndovascular means “inside the blood vessel.” Endovascular surgery is a type of procedure that uses very small cuts and long, thin tubes called catheters, which are placed inside a blood vessel to repair it.\nWhat Does It Treat?\nThis procedure is used to treat many types of conditions. It is commonly used to treat aneurysms, or weak spots or bulges in your arteries. Aneurysms can happen in any artery, but are most common in your abdominal aorta, the part of your largest artery that brings blood into your abdomen.\nOpen vs. Endovascular Aneurysm Repair\nDuring open surgery, a vascular surgeon makes a large cut to access your artery, then removes the damaged portion and replaces it with a graft. A graft is a tube that allows blood to flow without putting pressure on your damaged vessel wall, keeping the aneurysm from rupturing and leading to life-threatening internal bleeding.\nDuring endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR), the surgeon makes small punctures in your groin and inserts a catheter into your blood vessel. Using special x-ray guidance, the surgeon moves the catheter containing a stent graft, a device made of fabric and metal mesh, to the site of the aneurysm.\nThe stent graft expands and anchors in place above and below the aneurysm to support your blood vessel and allow blood to flow through it properly. If your aneurysm is close to other arteries, like the arteries that bring blood to your kidneys, your surgeon may use a special type of stent graft with windows that allow blood to flow through to those arteries.\nRELATED:\u00a0What Is a Vascular Surgeon?\nBenefits and Risks of Endovascular Surgery\nEndovascular surgery can result in a faster recovery time and fewer complications than open surgery. Many patients can go home one or two days after surgery and are back to their normal activities in two to four weeks.\nUnlike open surgery, EVAR requires more follow-up visits with your vascular surgeon. You will need more imaging tests to make sure your stent graft is working properly and may need additional procedures to correct problems as you age.\nLike all medical procedures, endovascular surgery is not without risks. Some risks can include:\n\nEndoleak, which happens when blood continues to flow in the aneurysm area. This may happen because the stent graft hasn’t properly sealed.\nStent movement or failure\nNew aneurysms that form above or below the original aneurysm site\n\nTalking to Your Surgeon About Endovascular Surgery\nYour vascular surgeon will determine whether open or endovascular surgery is best for you based on your anatomy, your risk factors, and the size of your aneurysm. Some questions you may want to ask include:\n\nWhat are all of my treatment options?\nWhat are the pros and cons of each of my treatment options?\nWhat will happen during my surgery?\nHow many of these surgeries have you done?\nHow long will I need to stay in the hospital?\nHow long will it take for me to get back to my normal activities?\nHow much follow-up care will I need?\n\nTo learn more about endovascular surgery, contact the UPMC Division of Vascular Surgery at 412-802-3333.