Embolization is a non-surgical, minimally-invasive procedure performed by an interventional radiologist. 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 treatment is used to slow or stop blood supply thus reducing the size of the tumour:



Chemoembolization is a procedure performed by an interventional radiologist in which anticancer drugs are administered directly into a tumor through its feeding blood supply, with concurrent or subsequent blockage of the feeding vessel by occlusive agents that are injected through the delivery catheter. This permits a higher concentration of drug to be in contact with the tumor for a longer period of time.

Chemoembolization is a combination of local delivery of chemotherapy and a procedure called embolization to treat cancer, most often of the liver. It is also being trialled at University Clinic in Frankfurt, Germany for the treatment of mesothelioma with some promising results.

In chemoembolization, anti-cancer drugs are injected directly into the blood vessel feeding a cancerous tumor. In addition, synthetic material called an embolic agent is placed inside the blood vessels that supply blood to the tumor, in effect trapping the chemotherapy in the tumor.

To treat a Hepatocellular carcinoma, a steerable probe is inserted into the groin and guided to the artery feeding the tumour. A dose of chemo is injected into the targeted area and then the artery is embolized. This takes place while the patient is conscious as the surgeon requires breathing to be controlled. An injection of morphine is given straight after the procedure as it can be quite painful. The patient may lose consciousness after this. The patient must lie stationary for six hours after the procedure to allow the opened artery to heal. The patient will be kept overnight for observation and will probably be discharged the following day. This is normally followed up with a CT scan a few weeks later to check the success of the procedure.