Open Aortic Surgery

The specialists in our Aortic Disease Program focus on your long-term health and quality of life when selecting the right treatment for your needs. In some cases, this means open aortic surgery. Our heart surgeons routinely perform some of the most challenging aortic surgeries available. Their depth and breadth of expertise are unmatched in the region.

Why choose Henry Ford for aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm surgery?

Physicians throughout Michigan refer complex aortic disease cases to our team. Our Aortic Disease Program offers:

  • High-volumes, excellent outcomes: We are among the busiest aortic surgery centers in the state and the country. Our high patient volume means we have extensive experience and deliver better outcomes.
  • Complicated surgeries: We offer thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm (TAAA) repair, reoperative (redo) aortic arch surgery and other complicated procedures. Care for the most complex aortic conditions is close to home.
  • Multispecialty team: We’re one of only two hospitals in southeast Michigan with a dedicated aortic disease program. A heart surgeon, vascular surgeon and cardiologist work together to plan your care.
  • Cardiac critical care: Surgeons are available 24/7 to treat aortic emergencies such as aortic dissections, ruptured (burst) aneurysm and trauma. You receive around-the-clock care in our specialized cardiac intensive care unit (CICU).

Advanced aortic surgeries from a world-class team

Open aortic surgery may be necessary if you have a large aneurysm or one that is difficult to reach. We may also recommend open surgery for younger patients. This approach provides a more permanent repair and reduces the chances of needing a second operation later in life.

During open aortic surgery, we access your aorta through an incision in your back, chest or abdomen. Your surgeon removes the damaged part of your aorta and sews a surgical graft (strong, synthetic tube) into place. Our surgeons use the latest grafts to improve the safety and long-term effectiveness of each procedure.

We offer a range of specialized surgeries for aortic aneurysms and aortic dissections, including:

Thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm (TAAA) repair

A TAAA is an enlargement of the aorta extending from the chest to the belly. This region contains many branches that supply blood to your stomach, intestines, kidneys, liver and other organs. Repairing such a large, complex aneurysm is especially challenging.

We are one of only a few centers in the country that perform TAAA repair. Your heart surgeon replaces the entire length of your ascending aorta with a graft and individually reimplants each branch to maintain blood supply to your organs. In some cases, we do an endovascular repair if you are not healthy enough for open surgery.

Aortic arch replacement

Aneurysms and dissections can affect the aortic arch, a curved section of your aorta near the heart. The aortic arch is difficult to treat due to its branching arteries that carry blood to the brain, arms and upper body. Our surgeons replace either portions of your arch or the entire structure. Aortic arch surgery is an open operation that uses grafts with multiple branches that attach to other connected arteries.

Reoperative (redo) aortic surgery

We specialize in redo aortic surgery. This procedure is for people who have had previous heart surgery to repair dissections in the ascending aorta but have since developed new aneurysms in their aortic arch or descending aorta.

A second open-chest surgery carries significantly more risk than the first, making reoperative surgery very complex. As a high-volume center, we regularly treat people who need redo surgery and are the only hospital in southeast Michigan to offer this procedure.

Valve-sparing aortic root replacement (David procedure)

Valve-sparing aortic root replacement, also called the David procedure, treats aneurysms in the aortic root. The aortic root is the section of the aorta that connects to your heart. We replace diseased sections of your aorta with a graft and sew the graft to your own valve (native valve).

Preserving your natural (native) aortic valve instead of replacing it with a mechanical or tissue valve offers several advantages. It:

  • Eliminates the ongoing need to take blood thinners
  • Lowers the chances that you’ll need another operation in the future since your native valve is more durable and lasts longer than an artificial valve
  • Reduces the risk of stroke

Take the next step

Request an appointment with a member of our aortic disease team or use one of the numbers below:

  • Detroit or southeast Michigan: (844) 725-6424
  • Jackson or south central Michigan: (517) 205-1305


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