Tumor Embolization

Also known as: head, neck and brain tumor embolization, pre-operative tumor embolization.

What is tumor embolization?

Tumor embolization is a minimally invasive procedure used to reduce/block blood flow to a tumor, before potentially removing it surgically by blocking a major blood vessel feeding it. The injected material (emboli) can also be coated with a destructive therapy which can be delivered directly to the tumor.

What happens during the procedure?

Under sedation or anesthesia, a small incision is made into a vessel and a needle is inserted. A thin catheter is then passed through the needle and advanced. After ensuring through a number of radiologic tests that the advanced catheter is placed in the best vessel to take the emboli to the tumor, small particles are injected.

Sometimes microspheres coated with chemotherapy or radioactive beads may be injected via the catheter as part of the embolization procedure.

Is any special preparation needed?

Your child may need to stop taking certain medications, food and drink before the procedure is performed.

What are the risk factors?

Nausea, fever, abdominal pain, infection and blood clots are all possible complications of tumor embolization.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: January 21, 2021 02:24 PM