Embolization is a well-established interventional radiology technique that uses small solid particles or special liquid agents to block the flow of blood. This can be used to treat trauma victims with massive bleeding, to control hemorrhage after childbirth, to decrease blood loss prior to surgery and to treat tumors.
In treating cancer patients, interventional radiologists use embolization to cut off the blood supply to the tumor. This technique can be combined with delivery of radiation to a tumor (radioembolization), or with chemotherapy to deliver the cancer drug directly to the tumor (chemoembolization).
Reprinted with permission of the Society of Interventional Radiology (c) 2004, 2008; www.SIRweb.org. All rights reserved.