Popliteal aneurysm repair can be carried out either via open surgery or as described here, using a keyhole surgery (minimally invasive) technique known as a stent graft or Endovascular Popliteal Artery Repair - 'EPAR'.
Keyhole surgery is an option for patients who have medical conditions that mean they cannot undergo open surgery, however the location and nature of the aneurysm may also determine whether keyhole surgery is an option, and Dr Hagley will be able to advise on this during the consultation.
This technique involves inserting a long thin tube (a 'catheter') into a small incision in the leg and manoeuvring it via the blood vessels to the location of the aneurysm in the popliteal artery. Dr Hagley introduces special medical instruments and a 'stent graft' through the catheter, and the stent - generally made of metal (see more on stents here) - is anchored in place with the assistance of special x-ray equipment (fluoroscopy). Once the stent is fixed in place, the catheter is removed and the small incision is closed.
This procedure takes around 1 -2 hours and may be conducted under either a local, or a general anaesthetic. After the procedure, the patient may need to stay in a lying position for up to 4 hours to allow the incision/s to start the healing process.
The advantages of keyhole surgery over open surgery are that no large incisions to the leg are required, the procedure is much quicker than open surgery and recovery times are much shorter, typically a hospital stay of 1-2 days (instead of 5+ days after open surgery), and often without the need for a 24-hour period in intensive care, as is normally required with open surgery.