Embolization (1713)

Key points below

What is Embolization?

Embolization is a way to control blood flow through a blood vessel.  It is done by putting a special substance called an embolic into the blood vessel.  The embolic can be made of coils, particles, special glue or ethanol medicine. The substance is put in through a tiny tube called a catheter. 

Why is it done?

Embolization is used to control bleeding and to treat vascular malformations, like Arteriovenous Malformations (AVM’s).  It can also be used to treat aneurysms, which are weakened areas of the blood vessel or blood clots.

How is it done?

1. An IV will be started.  Your child will get anesthesia to make them sleepy.  
2. It is important that your child has an empty stomach on the morning of surgery. If the stomach is not empty, food or drink can get into the lungs when anesthesia is given. This is called aspiration and could be very dangerous. The imaging nurse will let you know when your child should stop eating and drinking, or getting tube feedings. You child’s procedure may be cancelled if these instructions are not followed. 
3. The Interventional Radiologist puts a small needle into an artery or vein.   
4. The needle is removed and a catheter is left behind.  The catheter is a small tube which is put into the blood vessel to be controlled. 
5. A solution called contrast is put into the catheter.  This is used to see the blood vessels clearly on a special x-ray called fluoroscopy.  
6. The embolic material is injected through the catheter to control the blood vessel.
7. The doctor will look at the x-ray again to check that the blood vessel is controlled. 
8. The catheter is removed and a dressing is put on the area.  

How long does it take?

The procedure may take four hours or more.  After it is over, your child is taken to the recovery room.  They will get fluids in their IV and pain medicine, if needed.  The Interventional Radiologist will talk with you during the recovery period to explain the findings and results.  Your child may need to stay overnight to be watched.

What care is needed after the procedure?

Days 1 and 2:

Day 3:

Days 4 and 5:



 Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any concerns or if your child:

  • Has a fever.
  • Has changes at the site. The site is red, warm, swollen, tender, or has drainage.
  • Starts to vomit or cannot keep fluids down.
  • Is too sleep and you have trouble waking them.
  • Has special health care needs not covered by this information.