Implant degradation and poor healing after endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms: An analysis of explanted stent-grafts

Annie Major, Robert Guidoin, Gilles Soulez, Louis A. Gaboury, Guy Cloutier, Marc Sapoval, Yvan Douville, Guy Dionne, Robert H. Geelkerken, Paul Petrasek, Sophie Lerouge*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To study explanted stent-grafts to achieve a better understanding of the mechanisms of failure after endovascular treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). Methods: Twelve stent-grafts were harvested at autopsy (n=3) or during surgical conversion (n=9). Device alterations were investigated by macroscopic examination, radiography, and surface analysis techniques. Healing around the implants was studied via histology and immunohistochemistry, with particular attention to the stent-graft/tissue interface. Results: Degradation was more important with Vanguard stent-grafts (off the market) than with AneuRx and Talent stent-grafts, but rupture of nitinol wires and poor surface finish in Talent stent-grafts raise concern about their corrosion resistance and long-term stability. Poor healing was observed around stent-grafts even after several years of implantation, with absence of vascular smooth muscle cells, fibroblasts, and collagen formation. In addition to the well-known foreign body reaction around the graft, numerous polymorphonuclear cells characteristic of the first step of healing were present in tissues around stent-grafts retrieved at surgical conversion. Factors explaining the lack of tissue organization around stent-grafts are discussed. Conclusion: The long-term stability of implants remains a concern and requires more transparency from manufacturers regarding the surface properties of their devices. Lack of neointima formation impairs biological fixation of the implant to the vessel wall, leading to possible endoleaks and migration. New-generation stent-grafts promoting biological fixation should be developed to improve clinical outcomes of this minimally invasive treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-467
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Endovascular Therapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Corrosion
  • Endovascular aneurysm repair
  • Explants
  • Healing
  • Implant degradation
  • Neointima
  • Nitinol
  • Stent-graft
  • Vascular healing


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