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Embolization is a non-surgical, minimally-invasive procedure performed by an interventional radiologist and interventional neuroradiologists. It involves the selective occlusion of blood vessels, by purposely introducing emboli.


Therapeutic Applications

Embolisation is used to treat a wide variety of conditions affecting different organs of the human body.


The treatment is used to occlude:


The Procedure

The procedure is a minimally-invasive alternative to surgery. The purpose of embolization is to prevent blood flow to an area of the body, which effectively can shrink a tumour or block an aneurysm.

The procedure is carried out as an endovascular procedure, by a Consultant Radiologist in an Interventional Suite. It is common for most patients to have the treatment carried out with little or no sedation, although this depends largely on the organ to be embolized. Patients who undergo Cerebral Embolization or Portal Vein Embolization are usually given a general anesthetic.

Access to the organ in question is acquired by means of a guidewire and catheter(s). Depending on the organ this can be very difficult and time consuming. The position of the correct artery or vein supplying the pathology in question is located by Digital subtraction angiography or DSA. These images are then used as a map for the radiologist to gain access to the correct vessel by selecting an appropriate catheter and or wire, depending on the 'shape' of the surrounding anatomy.

Once in place, the treatment can begin. The artificial embolus used is usually one of three things:

Once the artificial emboli have been successfully introduced, another set of DSA images are taken to confirm a successful deployment.


  • Minimally invasive
  • No scarring
  • Minimal risk of infection
  • No or rare use of general anaesthetic
  • Faster recovery time


  • User dependant success rate
  • Risk of emboli reaching healthy tissue
  • Not suitable for everyone

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Embolization". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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