An endoleak is a defect that can occur when an aneurysm is treated with a special device called an endograft. An endograft prevents blood from flowing into the aneurysm sac. Occasionally, blood will still flow into the aneurysm sac even after a stent graft is in place, and this occurrence is called an endoleak.
There are several types of endoleaks. One of the more common is called a type II endoleak, which occurs when a blood vessel flows into the aneurysm sac and another blood vessel allows the flow to escape the aneurysm sac. When this happens, the aneurysm remains under pressure and can rupture. Although rupture is rare, if the aneurysm sac continues to enlarge, it typically requires treatment.
Treatments for Endoleaks
The treatment to repair an endoleak depends on the type of endoleak occurring. The common type II endoleak is treated in a minimally invasive fashion. One option is to feed a catheter from within the blood vessels up to the area of the endoleak and block the blood vessels that flow into and out of the aneurysm sac. Another approach uses imaging guidance to insert a tiny needle into the aneurysm sac itself and inject special materials called embolics into the aneurysm to block the flow. Our interventional radiologists are highly skilled in both treatments.
Preparation for Endoleak Procedures
Endoleak repairs are usually performed with general anesthesia. Do not eat a meal 8 hours before the procedure. Most medications can be taken the morning of the procedure except for medications that affect blood clotting (aspirin, Plavix, Lovenox, Coumadin, etc).
If you are taking one of these medications, you may need to stop taking it or be switched to another medicine for a few days before the procedure. This will be coordinated by your doctor, if necessary.
What to Expect After Endoleak Procedures
After the procedure, you should expect to be given appropriate pain medications if you are having any procedure-related pain. You may need to stay overnight, depending on how you are doing after the procedure, but most people can go home the same day, and it is rare for any further treatment to be required.
How We’re Different
Our interventional radiologists are specialists in endoleak repairs and in treating the areas of the body in which the repairs take place. In addition to the training that all radiologists receive, these specialists have additional fellowship training in interventional radiology, plus extensive real-world experience.
Our team of interventional radiologists and physician assistants coordinates your complete care – from imaging evaluation to post-procedure follow-up – maintaining a high level of communication with you throughout the process.
In addition, we coordinate closely with experts from across the UT Southwestern community when necessary.
Request an Appointment
To meet with an interventional radiologist at UT Southwestern's facilities in Dallas, or for more information about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.