Benefits vs. Risks of a Catheter Embolization

Catheter Embolization Benefits

  • Embolization is a highly effective way of controlling bleeding, especially in an emergency situation.
  • Embolization is much less invasive than conventional open surgery. As a result, there are fewer complications and the hospital stay is shorter—often only the night after the procedure. Blood loss is less than with traditional surgical treatment, and there is no obvious surgical incision.
  • This method can be used to treat tumors and vascular malformations that either cannot be removed surgically or would involve great risk if surgery was attempted.
  • No surgical incision is needed—only a small nick in the skin that does not have to be stitched closed.

Catheter Embolization Risks

  • There is a very slight risk of an allergic reaction if contrast material is injected.
  • Any procedure that involves placement of a catheter inside a blood vessel carries certain risks. These risks include damage to the blood vessel, bruising or bleeding at the puncture site, and infection.
  • There is always a chance that an embolic agent can lodge in the wrong place and deprive normal tissue of its oxygen supply.
  • There is a risk of infection after embolization, even if an antibiotic has been given.
  • Because the use of the contrast material is part of the procedure, there is a risk of an allergic reaction to the contrast material.
  • There is also a risk of kidney damage due to the contrast material, particularly in patients with diabetes or other kidney disease.