Traumatic pseudoaneurysm of the right hepatic artery, causing intermitent hemorrhage, before and after treatment with arterial embolization. The liver continued to be supplied by the portal circulation and to have normal function.


Embolization is the intentional blockage of an artery to stop the flow of blood through the artery. Small metal wires (coils), small plastic beads or small pieces of sponge-like material (gelfoam) are inserted through a catheter into the artery to be blocked. This treatment is used to prevent internal hemorrhage (bleeding), or to deprive a tumor of the nutrients and oxygen it needs to grow, by blocking the blood supply to it. 

Following is a description of the some of the procedures RCT physicians perform, along with images that show the dramatic results produced using these techniques. 

  • Tumor Embolization 

  • Embolization is a palliative (non-curative) treatment for liver cancer. This can be a cancer originating in the liver or a cancer that has spread ("metastasized") to the liver from other areas in the body. The artery is blocked off ("embolized") with a mixture of coil and tiny particles. This procedure deprives the tumor of oxygen and nutrients once the blood supply is blocked.

    During embolization, chemotherapy drugs may be injected directly into the artery that supplies blood to the tumor in the liver. The use of chemotherapy drugs during embolization is called chemoembolization.  Because these drugs are injected directly at the tumor site, this dosage is 20 to 200 times greater than that achieved with standard chemotherapy injected into a vein in the arm. And because the artery is blocked, no blood washes through the tumor so the drugs stay in the tumor for a much longer time � as long as a month. Chemoembolization only treats tumors in the liver and will have little or no effect on any other cancer in the body.

  • Uterine fibroid embolization

  • Uterine artery embolization is a new approach to the treatment of benign fibroid tumors of the uterus that blocks the arteries supplying blood to the fibroids. It is a minimally invasive procedure that avoids the need for surgery to remove the fibroids or the entire uterus (hysterectomy).

    The interventional radiologist steers the catheter through the artery to the uterus using x-ray imaging (fluoroscopy) to guide the catheter's progress. Tiny plastic (polyvinyl alcohol or PVA) or gelatin sponge particles the size of grains of sand are then injected into the vessels. The particles flow into the small arteries where they wedge in the vessels, unable to travel to other parts of the body. Over several minutes, the arteries are slowly blocked. As a result of the restricted blood flow, the tumor (or tumors) shrink. The blockage of these arteries and the subsequent shrinkage of these tumors relieves or improves the symptoms of pain and bleeding associated with these tumors.

    For more information on UFE, click here to connect to the SCVIR web site.

  • Control of hemorrhage

  • Some injuries or non-traumatic sites of internal bleeding are very difficult to control or identify with traditional surgical exploration. In these circumstances, angiography can identify the site of bleeding, and an embolization can be performed to stop the bleeding from the identified artery.
Examples of conditions for which embolization is used:
  • Tumors of the Liver

  • Liver tumors, including primary tumors of the liver (hepatomas), and metastatic tumors of the liver.
  • Uterine Fibroids

  • Common benign tumors of the uterus, which require treatment if symptoms of pain or bleeding become too severe.
  • Hemorrhage

  • Hemorrhage related to injury to an artery from either trauma or disease. Embolization is indicated if the source of bleeding is in a location that is difficult to control surgically. This type of treatment is often helpful in severe bleeding related to pelvic fractures or liver injury, and can be used to identify and treat bleeding from the intestines.

Severe internal bleeding caused by a stomach ulcer erroding into the splenic artery (artery to the spleen), before treatment with embolization.


Same splenic artery as above, following treatment with embolization coils to stop the flow of blood through the injured vessel.

Diagnostic Angiography

Peripheral Angioplasty

Venous Intervention &
Dialysis Access Management

Central Venous Access Catheters


Interventional Neuroradiology


Imaging Guided Biopsy/Abscess Drainage

Biliary Intervention for
Disorders of the Liver

GU Intervention

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