Transarterial Embolization

Treating tumors by cutting off their blood supply.

Transarterial embolization is a minimally invasive cancer treatment that uses tiny particles to block blood flow to a tumor, causing it to shrink. Our interventional radiologists perform embolization procedures to treat malignant (cancerous) and benign (noncancerous) tumors.

We use embolization to treat tumors that are too big for ablation therapy or that can’t be removed with surgery.

How does transarterial embolization work?

The liver’s blood supply runs through the portal vein and the hepatic artery (which provides the blood that feeds liver tumors). By blocking only the hepatic artery through transarterial embolization, we can starve the cancer cells and stop the growth of the tumor while preserving blood flow to the rest of the liver.

We perform four types of transarterial embolization:

  • Bland embolization: Gelatin or other embolic particles are used to block the hepatic artery
  • Chemoembolization: Medications alongside embolic particles deliver a targeted dose of chemotherapy to the tumor
  • Portal vein embolization: Tiny metallic coils in the portal vein block off the part the liver where the tumor is located, causing the other side of the liver to grow in preparation for surgery
  • Radioembolization (Theraspheres®): Tiny, radioactive glass beads are used to block the tumor’s blood supply, while emitting targeted radiation to destroy it.

Our cancer team will determine your embolization therapy treatment based on the tumor’s size, stage, and location.

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