Reference Index - Surgery

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Endovascular embolization

Definition:

Endovascular embolization is a medical procedure to treat abnormal blood vessels in the brain and other parts of the body. It is an alternative to open surgery.



Alternative Names:

Treatment - endovascular embolism; Coil embolization



Description:

A small surgical cut will be made in the groin area. The health care provider will use a needle to create a hole in the femoral artery, a large blood vessel. Next, a tiny, flexible tube called a catheter is passed through the open skin and into the artery. Dye may flow through this tube so that the artery may be seen on medical images.

While looking at live medical images of the area, the health care provider gently moves the catheter through the blood vessel up to the area being studied.

Once the catheter is in place, the health care provider sends small plastic particles, glue, metal coils, foam, or a balloon through it to seal off the bad blood vessel. The sealing material used depends on your individual condition. (If coils are used, it is called coil embolization.) More than one type of material may be used.



Why the Procedure Is Performed:

The procedure is most often used to treat aneurysms in the brain, but it may be used for other medical conditions when open surgery is considered risky. The general goal of the treatment is to prevent bleeding in the problem area and to reduce the risk of blood vessel rupture.

It may be used to treat:

  • Arteriovenous malformation (AVM)
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Carotid artery cavernous fistula (a problem with the large artery in the neck)
  • Certain tumors


Risks:
  • Bleeding
  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Failure to completely treat the lesion
  • Infection
  • Damage to artery
  • Stroke
  • Symptoms that keep returning


After the Procedure:

The procedure can take several hours. You will receive medicine to make you feel sleepy during the procedure.

Afterwards, you will need to rest, and may need to stay in the hospital overnight or longer.



Outlook (Prognosis):

How fast you recover depends on your overall health, severity of your medical condition, and other factors.



References:

Johnston SC. Recommendations for the endovascular treatment of intracranial aneurysms: a statement for healthcare professionals from the Committee on Cerebrovascular Imaging of the American Heart Association Council on Cardiovascular Radiology. Stroke. 2002; 33(10): 2536-4.

Schnipper D. Management of intracranial complications of sinus surgery. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2004; 37(2): 453-72, ix.

Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery, 17th ed. St. Louis, M0: WB Saunders; 2004.




Review Date: 1/16/2009
Reviewed By: Joseph P. Hart, M.D., Assistant Professor of Surgery, Medical University of Southern Carolina, Charleston, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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