Embolization is a controlled method to prevent blood flow to a particular area of the body. Embolization is used to treat aneurysms, tumors, excessive bleeding, and abnormal blood vessels. Metal coils, balloons, and chemical agents are often used to prevent severe bleeding or cut off a tumor’s blood source. Embolization in certain cases can be a better alternative to open surgery.
What is it?
Embolization is a minimally invasive method of cutting off blood supply to a given area. Some conditions an embolization can treat are an aneurysm, a tumor, abnormal blood vessels, and bleeding. A catheter is inserted into an artery, and the metal coil, balloon, or chemical agent is passed through the catheter to the selected blood vessel to block blood flow.
What should I do to prepare?
Consult with your doctor about stopping any medications such as aspirin and other blood thinners before embolization. You may also be asked to finish eating and drinking the night before your procedure.
What happens during the process?
This procedure involves sedatives or possibly general anesthesia. The site of entry will be cleaned and prepared before a catheter is inserted. Contrast material and X-ray imaging will be used to locate the correct spot before the medication or chemical is released.
What are the risks and potential complications?
One of the associated risks and complications of embolization is an allergic reaction to the contrast dye, although this is minimal. There is also the possibility of blood vessel injury and infection. The embolization may also affect the wrong target blood vessels and cause damage.
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