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Embolization is a minimally invasive, image guided treatment that involves injecting a special material or a device into a blood vessel in order to block or close it. It can be used to:
How Boston Children's Hospital approaches embolization
Embolization is performed by interventional and neurointerventional radiologists who are highly trained in doing this procedure on infants and children.
In addition to the interventional radiologist, your child will be treated by a team of anesthesiologists, nurse practitioners, nurses and technologists who specialize in caring for children who have undergone interventional radiology procedures and treatments.
We perform embolizations in the interventional radiology suite on the second floor of the hospital, which features three procedure rooms equipped with the latest imaging technology, a recovery area for patients who have received sedation or anesthesia and examining rooms for outpatient visits.
Embolization is used to treat certain conditions such as arteriovenous malformations, aneurysms, uncontrollable bleeding and tumors.
Guided by x-ray pictures, the interventional radiologist threads a thin, hollow tube called a catheter into the abnormal artery or vein. He then uses a smaller catheter within the first catheter to inject a special material (an embolic agent) or a soft metal coil to clog or block the blood vessel.
Explain to your child in simple terms why the embolization is needed and what will happen. You can say that you will be close by and that he may bring a favorite toy or blanket into the procedure room.
Someone from the hospital will call you a few days before the embolization to tell you where to go when you come to the hospital. The staff member will talk about when your child should stop eating, drinking and taking medicines.
Your child may need to visit the pre-operative clinic, where she will meet with a nurse and an anesthesiologist and undergo any necessary laboratory tests. You and your child will then meet with the nurse practitioner in the Division of Interventional Radiology. Please plan on spending two to four hours at the hospital for the preoperative visit.
When you arrive at the hospital for the embolization procedure:
Embolization is relatively safe, but it can be potentially associated with serious side effects. The interventional radiologist will explain these to you in detail before obtaining your permission to perform the procedure.
Your child will be exposed to ionizing radiation (x-rays) during this procedure. While we always attempt to minimize exposure to x-rays, we believe that the benefit of treatment outweighs the exposure that occurs during the exam. Because children are more sensitive to radiation exposure than adults, we have been leaders in adjusting equipment and procedures to deliver the lowest possible dose to young patients.
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300 Longwood Avenue
Boston MA 02115
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