Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe
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Embolisation for vascular malformations

What is embolisation for vascular malformations?

The embolisation procedure for treating vascular malformations is a minimally invasive method which aims to block blood vessel abnormalities which are causing the patient discomfort. The procedure is performed using specially designed materials, known as embolic agents.

How does the procedure work?

The interventional radiologist will insert a 2-3 mm catheter (tube) into a blood vessel in your groin and will then move the catheter under image guidance to the arteries which lead to the vascular malformation. When the particular vessel which is supplying the blood to the vascular malformation is found, the interventional radiologist will insert a smaller catheter. They will then insert glue or small metal spirals (coils) into this vessel, which causes the vessel or vessels to become blocked.

Why perform it?

There are many reasons why a vascular malformation embolisation may be beneficial for you. If you experience pain, recurrent bleeding or have aesthetic or functional problems as a result of the vascular malformation, it is important that the vascular malformation be treated.

What are the risks?

Minor risks include bruising in the groin. More significant risks include the possibility that the glue or coils may move to other areas of the body and block other artery branches.


1. Poh PG, Tan BS, Tham SC, Tay KH, Htoo AM, Lin MB, Cheng CW, Chong TW, Foo KT, Lim WE. The use of n-butyl-2 cyanoacrylate as an embolic agent in the minimally invasive treatment of renal arteriovenous malformations. Ann Acad Med Singapore. 2013 Apr; 42(4):207-9.
2. Singh C, Gupta M, Tripathi R, Tyagi S. Successful use of transcatheter embolisation in an emergent life-threatening situation of bleeding from uterine arteriovenous malformation. BMJ Case Rep. 2013 Apr 18; 2013.