What is Embolization?

Embolization is a medical procedure used to cut off the blood supply to an area of the body in order to treat a variety of medical conditions. It involves using the body's own natural defenses to “plug” or “embolize” an abnormal or abnormal-functioning blood vessel. The embolization procedure is usually done through X-ray techniques or ultrasound.

Embolization is often used to treat a range of medical conditions, from cancer to abnormal bleeding from the genitals. It can also be used to treat vascular malformations, trauma, and even some heart conditions.

Benefits of Embolization

Embolization has a number of advantages over other forms of medical treatment. It can provide more targeted and localized treatment than some other procedures can and it also avoids the need for major surgery. In some cases, embolization can be used to treat a condition that otherwise would have required major surgery.

In addition, embolization is typically a minimally invasive procedure, meaning it is less risky and requires shorter recovery times. As a result, embolization may be a better option in some cases if the patient doesn’t want to undergo surgery.

How Does Embolization Work?

Embolization is typically done using catheters, which are thin, flexible tubes that can be inserted into the body through small incisions. A doctor guides the catheter through the vascular system and delivers substances that can block the blood flow to a targeted area. The substances may be in the form of tiny beads, plugs, coils, or other substances.

The embolization procedure can be done on an outpatient basis and usually takes 1-2 hours. Most patients will need to be sedated for the procedure, although in some cases the doctor may use local anesthesia.

Risks and Side Effects

Embolization is generally considered safe, but as with any medical procedure, there are some risks and side effects. Some of the potential risks and side effects include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Damage to the surrounding tissue and organs
  • Allergic reaction to the embolization agent

Additionally, the procedure may not be effective in some cases, and a doctor may recommend another course of treatment.