Embolization is a minimally invasive procedure in which a doctor uses coils, glue, chemical agents or very small particles called polyvinyl alcohol particles to close specific blood vessels (veins or arteries). The purpose of the procedure is to block blood flow to a specific area. It is used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including:

  • aneurysm
  • AVM (arteriovenous malformations)
  • JNA (juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma)
  • uncontrollable bleeding due to trauma
  • varicocele
  • vascular malformations

In addition, we sometimes use embolization before a surgery, to minimize bleeding during the procedure.


Using ultrasound and live X-ray for guidance, the doctor will inject particles, coils, glue or chemical agents into the area of interest in the body.


Patients receive intravenous sedation or general anesthesia.


The procedure is considered low-risk. However, potential complications include:

  • bleeding
  • infection
  • tenderness, bruising or swelling where the catheter was inserted
  • numbness or coolness in the arm or leg
  • injury to the blood vessels
  • nontarget-site embolization
  • puncture-site thrombosis (blood clot)
  • stroke
  • blindness (rare)
  • allergic reaction to the X-ray dye (contrast reaction)
  • reduced kidney function (due to the X-ray dye)
  • post-embolic syndrome (fever, nausea and pain related to decreased blood flow in the treated area)


Your child will be monitored for six hours in the recovery area and may be admitted to the hospital for observation. It is very important that your child keep the arm or leg that was punctured straight and still during that time to minimize risk of bleeding.


The bandage must stay dry and in place for 48 hours. You may sponge-bathe your child during this time, as long as the bandage stays dry.


Avoid strenuous activities, particularly contact sports or rough playing, for one week.