In an embolization procedure, blood vessels are strategically blocked to control excessive bleeding or restrict blood flow to specific areas, according to RadiologyInfo. The physician threads a catheter through a blood vessel to implant a synthetic material or medication, known as an embolic agent, at the desired occlusion site.
Embolization is commonly used to stop harmful gastrointestinal bleeding and to shrink tumors by cutting off blood supply, RadiologyInfo states. The procedure is also used to isolate aneurysms in arterial walls and treat vascular malformations that reduce oxygen circulation to essential areas.
In chemoembolization, physicans insert chemotherapy drugs with the embolic agents for localized treatment of a tumor, the American Cancer Society notes. Similarly, radioembolization involves injecting a radioactive isotope to deliver targeted radiation therapy.