Nonintubated aortic surgery using various techniques has been reported, but despite publication of favorable outcomes in select patient groups, awake aortic surgery remains unpopular. Our patient had an abdominal aortic aneurysm that was unsuitable for endovascular repair. Because of the significant respiratory disease, general anesthesia represented an unacceptably high risk. As a result, he underwent open AAA repair via a retroperitoneal approach with the aid of epidural anesthesia. Here, we highlight the benefits of the procedure which offer a select cohort of patients the chance of life-saving surgery.