Embolization is a minimally invasive surgery. The purpose is to prevent blood flow to an area of the body, which can effectively shrink a tumor 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 (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.
Once the artificial emboli have been successfully introduced, another set of DSA images are taken to confirm a successful deployment.
see Flow diverter
see preoperative Tumor embolization