Surgeons at Thomas Jefferson Hospital will webcast a minimally-invasive aortic aneuryism repair tomorrow afternoon while a narrator explains the procedure.

Aortic aneurysm - diagnosed in more than 20,000 Americans each year - occurs when the aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body, develops a bulging weak spot.

If this aneurysm ruptures, it can be fatal. Traditional repair methods, however, require highly invasive open-chest surgery, which lengthens recovery time and increases the risks of complications.

The operation being done at Jefferson begins with a small puncture in the femoral (groin) artery. A tube inserted into the artery is threaded to the heart, then imaging devices and surgical instruments access the aorta through this tube.

Patients generally go home from the hospital the day after the minimally-invasive repair.

Surgeon Joseph Lombardi, director of the Jefferson Aortic Center, will lead tomorrow's aneurysm repair.

The event can be viewed at www.jeffersonhospital.org/webcast beginning at at 4:30 p.m.; replays will be available the next day.