About open repair surgery

Your surgeon recommended an Open Repair after carefully considering your age, health, as well as the size, location and shape of your aneurysm.

Open Repair 
Before my open repair surgery

Pre-Admission Visit

You will have an appointment at the Pre-Admission Clinic within 2 weeks before your operation. This visit is very important to assess your health and help you prepare for your surgery and recovery. Plan for your visit to take 2 to 5 hours. On the day of your pre-admission visit, take your medications and eat as usual, unless you were given other instructions.

Pre-Admission Clinic at Toronto General Hospital
Eaton Building – Ground Floor, Room 400

What should I bring to my pre-admission appointment?

  • Your health card (OHIP card). If you do not have an OHIP card, please bring another form of government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license or passport.
  • Any other insurance cards. You will need the policy number of your extended health insurance, if you have any.
  • Your spouse/partner, a trusted friend or family member (to offer you support and be a second set of ears).
  • All the medications you take in their original containers. This includes prescription medications, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, supplements and herbal or natural products.
  • A copy of your power of attorney for personal care and/or advanced directives.
  • A list of any questions that you may have about the operation and recovery.
  • The name or phone number of your pharmacy, as well as any medical specialists that you have seen in the past 3 years.
  • If you have had a cardiac stress test, echocardiogram and/or a pulmonary function test in the past 3 years, it would be helpful to bring a copy of the final report with you to this appointment.

What happens during my pre-admission visit?

  • You will have blood tests and routine skin swabs. The swabs are taken from your nose and other areas of your body to check for germs that can cause infections.
  • You may also need an electrocardiogram (ECG) to check your heart and a chest x-ray to check your lungs.
  • You will meet many health care providers during your pre-admission visit. Please feel free to ask them any questions that you may have.
  • A pre-admission nurse will review your health history and give you information to prepare you for your operation, including directions for cleaning your skin, eating before your operation, taking your medications and pain management.
  • A pharmacist will review your medications.

Depending on your needs, you may also meet:

  • An anesthetist who will review your health history, discuss your anesthetic plan and pain relief after your operation.
  • A member of the medicine team, if you have other complex health problems.
Preparing for my open repair

The day before your surgery

  1. You must have a shower with soap and water to clean your skin the night before and the morning of your surgery to reduce the chance of infection after your operation.
  2. If you smoke, do not do so for 24 hours before your operation.
  3. Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours before your operation.
  4. Remove all nail polish and body piercings.

Stop smoking before your surgery: learn how smoking and tobacco can affect your recovery after surgery, and how quitting can improve your health.

What Should I do the day of my surgery

Arrive 2 hours before your scheduled operation time.

Surgical Admission Unit (SAU) at Toronto General Hospital
Peter Munk Building – 2nd Floor
All hospital entrances are open by 6:00 am. However, Elizabeth St. and University Ave. are easiest to access.

Back at home

You will continue to recover when you return home.

ActivityHow to manage at home
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  • Eat a variety of foods from the four food groups.
  • Some pain medications can cause constipation. To prevent constipation, drink lots of fluids and eat foods that are high in fibre.
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  • Some of your medications may have changed. Follow the schedule indicated in your discharge summary.
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  • When showering, let the soap and water run over your incisions. Pat your incisions dry with a clean towel.
  • • Do not swim, use hot tubs or take baths until your incisions are totally healed and no longer leaking.
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  • You will have staples (metal clips) on your abdominal incision. You may have stitches or staples in your groin incisions.
  • Keep your incisions dry and open to air unless they are leaking.
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  • Do not do strenuous activities or lift anything heavy (over 10 pounds or 4.5 kilograms) for 4 to 6 weeks.
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  • Start slowly. Take short walks around your house, with rest periods in between. Gradually walk a little farther and a little faster. You are likely to feel tired at first, but this will slowly get better.
  • Plan time to rest during the day.
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  • You will not be able to drive for 4 to 6 weeks after your operation.
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  • Depending on the job you do, you may be able to return to work 6 weeks after the operation. Please talk with your surgeon.
Follow-up appointments

Where and when

About 1 week after your discharge, you will follow-up with your family doctor.

About 2 to 3 weeks after your operation, you will follow-up with your surgeon's office.

A few weeks after your operation, you will follow-up with your surgeon's office.

My contacts

Who do I call with general post-operative questions?

If you have health related concerns while you are recovering at home, please contact your surgeon's office or:

Cindy Dickson, Vascular Clinic Nurse
Phone: 416 340 3857

Call your surgeon's office:

Dr. Thomas Forbes
Phone: 416 340 3274

Dr. Kathryn Howe
Phone: 416 340 5193

Dr. Thomas Lindsay
Phone: 416 340 4620

Dr. George Oreopoulos
Phone: 416 340 3275

Dr. Graham Roche-Nagle
Phone: 416 340 5332

Dr. Barry Rubin
Phone: 416 340 3645

Who do I call if I experience complications

Call 911 or go to the hospital emergency department if you have an emergency such as:

  • Numbness in your arms, feet or legs, or they become cold or painful, or you have trouble moving them.
  • New pain in your groin, back, chest or abdomen.
  • Severe pain or swelling at your incisions site.
  • New shortness of breath.
  • Feeling dizzy or faint.
  • You lose control of your bladder or bowels
  • You are no longer able to pass urine.

Visit your family doctor or go to a walk in clinic as soon as possible if you experience:

  • Leg swelling that doesn't go away.
  • New mild pain, redness or swelling around your incisions.
  • Drainage or leaking from your incision that is increasing or smells bad.
  • New lump around your incision site.
  • Diarrhea (loose stools).
  • Not passing any gas or feeling constipated for more than a few days.
  • Vomiting (throwing up) and not able to eat or drink.
  • Chills and a fever above 38.5°C (100.4°F) for at least 24 hours.

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