Visit Brigham and Women’s Hospital Website Visit Brigham and Women’s Hospital Website

About the Procedure

Brigham and Women's Hospital Features Webcast of Minimally Invasive Abdominal Artery Repair Surgery

Newer endovascular techniques reduce recovery time and hospital stay for patients suffering from abdominal aortic aneurysm

BOSTON, MA- On Thursday, January 20, 2005, Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) hosted a live Webcast for viewers to watch and learn more about new endovascular repair techniques for an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), the abnormal dilatation of the major abdominal artery that causes rupture and severe bleeding. Medical professionals, and the general public, are invited to log-on to the archive Webcast by visiting

Michael Belkin, MD, Chief of BWH's Division of Vascular Surgery and Edwin Gravereaux, Director of Endovascular Surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital performed the surgery with Anthony Whittemore, MD, former Chief of Vascular Surgery and currently BWH's Chief Medical Officer narrating the surgical techniques for the viewers.

"Many patients with a ruptured AAA die before they ever reach a hospital," said Whittemore. "We hope that through this Webcast we can raise awareness about AAA to help prevent arterial rupture. In addition, we would like to provide our medical colleagues and patients with an inside look at the advanced techniques our surgeons are able to perform at BWH to treat this condition."

An aneurysm causes localized widening or enlargement of an artery that may subsequently rupture causing life-threatening bleeding. Aneurysms occur most commonly in the abdominal aorta, the largest blood vessel in the abdomen, which carries blood to the abdominal organs and legs. Abdominal aortic aneurysms affect almost 10 percent of men over 65 years of age. They are the 10th leading cause of death for men over the age of 55.

At present, there is no proven non-surgical treatment for AAAs. Traditional surgical repair requires an abdominal incision and a five- to seven-day hospital stay with complete recovery taking four- to six-weeks. However, during the past decade, more patients have been able to participate in a less invasive option using an endovascular approach that is performed through small incisions in the groin. It allows patients to recover more quickly with less pain and fewer days in the hospital.

According to Belkin, "Until recently, a large incision, part of an open surgical approach, was required to treat patients with AAA. Now, due to advances in vascular surgery techniques, including the use of angioplasty in patients who are in good health, this treatment option can be evaluated against a less invasive option. Endovascular surgery allows surgeons to minimize recovery time, reduce hospital stay as well as provide emotional relief for patients concerned about open surgery."

Harvard Medical School is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Harvard Medical School designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1 category 1 credit toward the AMA Physician's Recognition Award. Each physician should claim only those credits that he/she actually spent in the educational activity.

The January 20, 2005 event represents the eighth Webcast BWH has performed to date. For this surgery, camera crews will be present, filming the procedure, in one of BWH's state-of-the-art operating rooms.

To learn more about this and previous Brigham and Women's Hospital Webcasts, visit

Brigham and Women’s Hospital is a 747-bed nonprofit teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a founding member of Partners HealthCare System, an integrated health care delivery network. BWH is committed to excellence in patient care with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery. The BWH medical preeminence dates back to 1832 and today that rich history in clinical care is coupled with its national leadership in quality improvement and patient safety initiatives, dedication to educating and training health care professionals, and strength in biomedical research. With $370M in funding and more than 500 research scientists, BWH is an acclaimed leader in clinical, basic and epidemiological investigation - including the landmark Nurses Health Study, Physicians Health Studies, and the Women’s Health Initiative. For more information about BWH, please visit: