Abdominal Aortic Surgery

Before Your Procedure
  • Please be sure to complete all necessary testing 7 to 10 days prior to your procedure.
  • Please have clear liquids for dinner the evening prior to your procedure. (jello/soup broth)
  • Please use the dulcolax suppository the evening prior to your procedure.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight prior to your procedure.
  • If you are taking coumadin or plavix please follow your doctor’s instructions concerning when to stop taking them before your surgery.
  • It is not necessary to stop your aspirin.

Diabetics: reduce your evening dose by 1/2 the evening prior to surgery and take no insulin the morning of your procedure.

You may take your usual morning medicines with a sip of water.

After Surgery

Care of the Surgical Incision

The surgical incision is normally slightly tender, swollen, and bruised. You should inspect your incision daily for signs of infection.
Notify your surgeon’s office if you develop any:
– Increased redness
– Increased tenderness
– Local heat around the incision
– Drainage or pus from the incision
– Fever above 101 degrees F

If the sutures are removed prior to your discharge the incision will be covered by steri strips, small pieces of paper tape. If the steri strips do not fall off within 7 days, you may remove them. If the sutures are not removed prior to discharge an appointment will be made for you to return to the clinic to have them removed.

You may also have incisions in your groin. These incisions are susceptible to infection due to the moist environment of the groin. You may place a gauze pad in the groin to keep the area clean and dry. If you notice an increasing amount of clear drainage from the groin wounds you should contact your surgeon’s office.

You may shower when you leave the hospital. Let the water run over the incision and pat it dry afterward.

Leg Swelling

Leg swelling may occur if your bypass surgery involved groin incisions. This swelling should gradually resolve within six months. To minimize the swelling you should keep your legs elevated above the level of your heart. Some surgeons allow the use of  “support” stockings or ace bandages, wrapped from the toes to below the knee to help reduce swelling. Do not do this unless your doctor has instructed you to do so.

You should avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting (anything greater than 10 pounds) for two months.
You may climb stairs.
It is normal to feel tired after this surgery. Expect that it will take about three months to feel like yourself again.
If you notice increased leg swelling you should decrease your activity and elevate your legs.
If there are open wounds on your feet your activity will be limited until the wounds are healed.


For mild pain, you may take regular or extra strength Tylenol every 4-6 hours. You will be given a prescription for stronger pain medication. This should be used to treat pain that is not relieved with regular Tylenol. Nausea and constipation can occur as a result of taking prescription pain medication. Taking the pain medication with a meal or snack may help to prevent nausea, while drinking plenty of liquids and eating high fiber foods – fruits, vegetables, and grains, can help prevent constipation. Metamucil or Milk of Magnesia may also be used to treat constipation.

Preventive Antibiotics

Your vascular surgical procedure involves the placement of a synthetic graft. A preventive dose of antibiotics prior to dental work and other invasive procedures is recommended to prevent the graft from potentially becoming infected.
Please inform with your dentist and primary care physician about the synthetic graft.

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