It has been postulated that gender differences in abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) rupture risk are due to variation in proportional dilatation. This study's purpose was to examine differences in relative dilatation of AAAs as related to rupture risk and repair thresholds. During a recent 20-month period (August 2003-March 2005), all patients receiving elective endovascular repair of an AAA underwent computer-generated computed tomographic measurements, including suprarenal aortic diameter (D1) and maximum aneurysm diameter (D3). As a measure of proportional dilatation, a D3/D1 ratio was calculated for each patient and compared between genders. Values for males and females were plotted separately (D3 vs. D3/D1), and the resulting linear regression equations allowed for the comparison of proportional dilatation of aneurysms between genders. In 129 patients (108 males, 21 females), mean D3 did not differ between genders (62 +/- 9.0 vs 63.4 +/- 10.8 mm, p = 0.89), while relative dilatation (D3/D1) was significantly greater in females compared to males (2.82 +/- 0.52 vs. 2.55 +/- 0.42, p = 0.02). Linear regression analysis allowed for comparison of D3 as a function of D3/D1 and correlated a 55 mm AAA in males with one of 52 mm in females. These differences became greater with increasing AAA diameters (e.g., 60 and 70 mm AAAs in a male were proportionally similar to 56 and 62 mm AAAs in a female). AAAs of equal diameter represent a greater proportional dilatation in females than in males. This supports the recommendation for a smaller aneurysm diameter (52 mm) threshold for repair in females rather than the commonly used 55 mm threshold in males. Also, these data suggest that the gender difference in rupture risk widens exponentially as aneurysm diameter, and thereby proportional dilatation, increases above this repair threshold.