Deanna M. Neff, MPH
This is a procedure to fill and/or close blood vessels. This prevents bleeding and rupture. It is an alternative to open surgery.
Endovascular embolization can treat many conditions, including:
The procedure can be used alone or with other treatments. It will not fix damaged areas of the brain, but it can improve quality of life by stopping bleeding or preventing rupture.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems.
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Your appointment before the surgery may include:
Women should let their doctor know if they are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
will be used. It will block any pain and keep you asleep through the surgery.
Your blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse will be monitored. An IV will be placed in your arm for sedation and anesthesia. The groin area will be shaved and sterilized. The catheter will be inserted in this area.
TA tiny incision will be made in your groin area to access an artery. The catheter will be placed in the artery and threaded up to the site. A special dye will be given through the catheter. The catheter pathway will be able to be viewed on a monitor. X-rays will help the doctor find the exact weakened or malformed area.
Once the catheter is in position, medication, coils, stents, or other man-made material will be inserted into the catheter to the site. This will close or fill the blood vessel. Imaging tests will be done to make sure the blood vessels have closed.
The catheter and IV line will be removed. You will lie still for 6-8 hours.
30 minutes or longer—more complex procedures may take several hours.
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
This procedure is done in a hospital setting. The usual length of stay is 2 days. If you have any complications, you will need to stay longer.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
Home care may include:
Contact your doctor if your recovery is not progressing as expected or you develop complications such as:
Call for emergency medical services right away if any of the following occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
The Brain Aneurysm Foundation
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Brain Injury Association of Canada
Heart and Stroke Foundation Canada
Catheter embolization. Radiological Society of North America Radiology Info website. Available at:
http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=cathembol. Updated August 14, 2013. Accessed May 6, 2016.
Endovascular (embolization) treatment of aneurysms. The Toronto Brain Vascular Malformation Study Group website. Available at:
http://brainavm.oci.utoronto.ca/malformations/embo_treat_aneurysm_index.htm. Accessed May 6, 2016.
Splenic artery aneurysm. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 22, 2016. Accessed May 6, 2016.
Vascular malformations in the brain. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 26, 2015. Accessed May 6, 2016.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
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