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Iliac Aneurysm

Iliac Aneurysm Definition

An iliac aneurysm is bulging and weakness in the wall of the iliac artery, a group of arteries located in the pelvis. An iliac aneurysm can burst, which can cause life-threatening uncontrolled bleeding. IliacAneurysmNormal.gif


  • Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • Infections
  • Trauma from hip or lower-back surgery


  • Being older than 60
  • Being a man
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Genetic disorders IliacAneurysm.gif


If you have an iliac aneurysm, you may have no symptoms. Symptoms include:

  • Back pain
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Groin pain


  • Computed Tomography (CT) scan: X-ray views of the aortic artery are taken to determine if there are any aneurysms.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: Radio waves and magnetic fields are used to show areas where an aneurysm may be present.
  • Angiography: A dye is inserted into the arteries through a catheter, then an X-ray is taken to show how blood flows through the arteries and whether any aneurysms are present. UVA's angiography/interventional radiology suites are equipped with technology that allows for 3-D images of aneurysms to help determine the best plan of treatment.


  • Close monitoring: A patient may undergo regular screenings to check the size and growth of the iliac aneurysm to determine if treatment is necessary.
  • Lifestyle changes: Steps such as quitting smoking, controlling diabetes and eating a low-fat diet to reduce cholesterol may help keep the aneurysm from growing.
  • Medication: A patient may receive medicine to reduce cholesterol or blood-pressure levels. Carefully controlling high blood pressure is an important part of the treatment.
  • Surgery: Surgeons may use a graft (a cylinder-like tube) to repair the aneurysm. In some cases, open surgery (requiring a larger incision in the chest) may be necessary to repair the aneurysm. UVA also uses minimally invasive endovascular techniques (only requiring a small incision in the groin) to repair iliac aneurysms.
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