During embolization procedures, an interventional neuroradiologist uses a microcatheter to place miniature instruments and materials in blood vessels. These materials, called emboli or embolic agents, may include coils, microparticles, glue or foam.
Coil Embolization for Brain (Cerebral) Aneurysms
Coil embolization, or endovascular coiling, is used to treat a cerebral aneurysm (a bulging or weakened area in the wall of a blood vessel in the brain). In this procedure, a soft metal coil is inserted into the aneurysm, sealing it from within to help prevent it from rupturing.
Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) Embolization
Arteriovenous malformations (AVM) are tangled connections between arteries and veins in the brain or spinal cord. Without effective intervention, this abnormality can lead to catastrophic hemorrhagic stroke (brain bleed) and can be fatal. During embolization, an interventional neuroradiologist injects glue into the AVM. The glue immediately hardens and blood flow through the AVM is blocked off, which eliminates the risk of bleeding.
Dural Arteriovenous Malformation/Fistula (DAVM/DAVF) Embolization
A dural arteriovenous malformation/fistula (DAVM/DAVF) is an abnormal connection between an artery in the dura, which is the outer membrane covering the brain and spinal cord, and a vein in the brain. This abnormality increases blood pressure in the brain to critically high levels, potentially causing a brain bleed that can be fatal. Neuroendovascular embolization usually is the first treatment option for DAVM/DAVF. In this procedure, an interventional neuroradiologist uses a microcatheter to place glue, microparticles or detachable microcoils in the affected blood vessels. This technique blocks the blood supply to the affected vessels, while sparing normal veins. In the most severe cases, open surgery and radiation therapy may be combined to treat this condition.
Spinal Arteriovenous Malformation/Fistula (Spinal AVM/AVF) Embolization
A spinal arteriovenous malformation/fistula (spinal AVM/AVF) is an abnormal connection between blood vessels in or near the spine. This condition can cause bleeding or pooling of blood (venous congestion) in or around the spinal cord, possibly leading to significant dysfunction, such as lower extremity weakness or paralysis, sensory changes, and bowel or bladder control issues. Our specialists generally use spinal MRI for diagnosis, and spinal angiography for treatment planning. Endovascular embolization is an effective technique in the treatment of spinal AVM/AVF. It is sometimes effective as the only treatment technique, and sometimes combined with open surgery or radiation therapy for the most comprehensive approach.
Embolization for Tumors of the Brain, Head & Neck
Using image guidance, an interventional neuroradiologist injects microparticles, glue, gelfoam or coils to block the blood supply to a tumor. This usually is done prior to surgical removal of the tumor in order to reduce blood loss during surgery, shorten operative time and improve chances of complete tumor removal.
Nosebleeds (Epistaxis) Embolization
Epistaxis embolization is an option when nose bleeding is severe, difficult to locate or does not respond to traditional treatment. During embolization, an interventional neuroradiologist places microparticles, glue, Gelfoam or a coil to stop the bleeding, allowing the vessel to clot and heal.