Hepatic Arterial Embolization

Hepatic embolization blocks the blood flow to liver tumors. Your interventional radiologist will thread a small catheter (flexible tube) into your hepatic artery. Then, he will inject tiny particles into the catheter. These particles will block the blood flow to the tumor, which will help to kill it. We sometimes also inject chemotherapy or radioactive particles (Y-90) directly into the tumor.


Before your procedure
Before the procedure, you will have an IV line placed in your arm. You may get medication through your IV that will make you feel drowsy. The medication will control pain and anxiety. You may need to have a urinary catheter placed at the beginning of the procedure.


During your procedure
An artery in your groin or wrist will be chosen using ultrasound-guidance. The area will be cleaned and numbed with local anesthetic (lidocaine/novocaine).

The interventional radiologist will guide the catheter into the hepatic artery using fluoroscopy (video x-ray). He will then use dye to confirm that the catheter is in the correct place. Once the catheter is in place, the interventional radiologist will inject the particles until he sees that the blood flow to the tumor has been adequately stopped or until he has administered the appropriate amount of chemotherapy or radioactive particles into the tumor.

At the end of the procedure, the catheter will be removed and the site will be covered with a dressing.

After your procedure
You will stay in our recovery area for between 2 and 4 hours to make sure you are fully awake and feeling well following the procedure. Additionally, if we access through an artery in your groin, you will need to lay down while you are in the recovery area and keep that leg straight.

At home
You may experience “post-embolization syndrome,” which can include the following symptoms:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting  

  • Pain is the most common side effect that can occur, because the blood supply to the treated area is cut off

  • These side effects usually improve within 3 to 5 days and may be improved with medication

  • You may also experience a low-grade fever, lethargy and fatigue that could last up to 1 week

  • You should tell your doctor if these symptoms last more than 10 days

Do not get the access site wet for 24 hours. After 24 hours, you can shower, but should still avoid getting the site wet. You should not take a bath or swim for at least 7 days.

For 5 days after your procedure, don’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds and do not engage in any rigorous exercise.You may do usual light activities after 24 hours.
Special considerations for Y-90 (radioembolization)

  • Do not attempt to become pregnant or get someone pregnant

  • Nursing mothers should not nurse

  • Sit to urinate for the first 24-48 hours and flush twice

Call Your Doctor if you have:

  • A fever of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher.

  • Pain, nausea, or vomiting that is uncontrolled.

  • Redness, swelling, or bleeding around the procedure site.

  • Any symptoms that are worrying you.


Our mission at NY Imaging Specialists is to provide the highest-quality advanced imaging in a patient-centered and compassionate environment, with the comfort and convenience of being close to home.

To schedule an appointment by phone call 833-269-4624.