Endovascular embolization fills or closes blood vessels to prevent bleeding and rupturing. This is an alternative to open surgery.
Endovascular embolization can treat many conditions, including:
- Brain aneurysm — a weakened blood vessel in the brain that collects blood and can bleed
- Vascular malformations — abnormal connections between arteries and veins (usually present at birth)
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.
How Endovascular Embolization Works
Your doctor makes a tiny incision in your groin area to access an artery and threads a catheter up to the site. Your doctor injects special dye through the catheter to better see the weakened or malformed area on a monitor and in the X-rays.
Once the catheter is in position, your doctor inserts medication, coils or man-made material into the catheter to the site. This closes or fills the blood vessel. Imaging tests make sure the blood vessels have closed.
The procedure takes about 30 minutes. Your doctor may prescribe medications to manage any pain and discomfort after the procedure.
You will need to lie still for 6-8 hours. You can expect a two-day hospital stay, and an extended stay if you have any complications.
When you get home, you may have to adjust your activity level while you recover. This may take up to a week. Home care may include:
- Resting when you need to
- Caring for the wound
- Physical or rehabilitative therapy
Problems from the procedure are rare. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
- Numbness or tingling
- Speech disturbances
- Visual changes
- Confusion, memory loss
- Reaction to the anesthesia or contrast solution
- Blood clots
- Ruptured aneurysm during surgery
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
- High blood pressure
Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.