Newswise — HOUSTON (April 8, 2021) – Two weeks ago, Chuck Wiegand was having surgery to remove a tumor from his neck when doctors found an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). Earlier this week, Wiegand became the first patient in the United States to undergo a minimally-invasive AAA repair using a new device recently granted regulatory approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

The first procedure in the United States was performed at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center on March 29, 2021 by Gustavo Oderich, MD, professor of vascular and endovascular surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and Chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery at Memorial Hermann

The new FDA approved branch device treats AAA, a potentially life-threatening ballooning of the aorta, utilizing an endovascular approach to surgical repair of the aorta, the largest artery in the body that pumps blood from the heart to vital organs. It is a less invasive procedure than open surgery and doesn’t require an incision in the abdomen, since a stent graft is placed inside the aorta from a small incision made in each leg. The new device offers physicians improved positioning of the stent and is the first to give physicians the option to angle the device to achieve placement to maximize conformability and seal.

“Endovascular repair has proven benefits to patients, including smaller incisions as well as quicker return to activities following surgery,” said Dr. Oderich, who was instrumental in the clinical trial and research of the device. “This new device expands on the proven clinical performance of comparable devices used to treat AAA using endovascular techniques.”

Wiegand will begin chemotherapy treatments next week and is happy his doctors found the AAA in time. 

“I’m grateful to Dr. Oderich and his team for allowing me to go through this surgery using this new technology,” Wiegand said. “Now that I have gotten this problem out of the way, I am hopeful that the cancer treatments will go well and I can get on with the rest of my life.”