TTUHSC: Surgeon brings FEVAR Procedure to area patients

For Your Health

LUBBOCK, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Another option to treat abdominal aorta aneurysms has been brought to the area by a Texas Tech University Health Science Center doctor.

TTUHSC said Wei Li, M.D., MPH, a vascular surgeon and an associate professor of surgery, is the first to perform a Fenestrated Endovascular Aortic Repair (FEVAR) procedure in the region.

The aorta is the largest artery in the body. It brings oxygenated blood from the left ventricle of the heart to all parts of the body. If an area of the aorta weakens, an aortic aneurysm, a balloon-like bulge, can form in the lower portion of the aorta. The result is an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Dr. Li said this can be treated a few ways. He said currently, the majority of abdominal aortic aneurysms can be treated with a minimally invasive technique known as Endovascular Aneurysm Repair (EVAR). Another option is called an open repair and requires a large incision to open the abdomen and expose the aorta.

Neither were good options for Leonard Routier. Enter the FAVER procedure.

“Open repair is a very invasive surgery that many elderly patients, like Mr. Routier, do not tolerate well,” Dr. Li said. “Fortunately, we were able to offer Mr. Routier a more advanced and minimally invasive option known as, Fenestrated Endovascular Aortic Repair (FEVAR), which allowed him to get his aneurysm fixed while preserving his kidneys.”

The procedure is done by making small needle-sized incisions in the groin area. A guidewire is then threaded through the femoral artery to the aneurysm site so the entire fenestrated stent graft system can be inserted to repair the aneurysm.

After the procedure, patients can be released from the hospital as early as the next day after surgery.

“Patients who undergo open aneurysm repair also must spend several days in the hospital without eating or drinking by mouth,” Dr. Li said. “Mr. Routier was allowed to drink and eat on just the next day after FEVAR surgery and was discharged from the hospital shortly after.”

Routier said he did not have any issues being the first patient in the area to undergo the procedure.

“The doctor was very knowledgeable of what was going on. He had done this procedure before in New York,” said Routier. “So I just had the thought that if he had already done the procedure, then why not do it here?”

Routier said his recovery has been wonderful.

“I’ve had no recurrences of anything of any sort. I’ve had no problems with anything they’ve done,” said Routier.

Dr. Li said the typical candidates for the procedure are those who are not qualified for the traditional open repair or EVAR.

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