What is epistaxis embolisation?
Epistaxis is the medical term for a nosebleed, which is relatively common and refers to bleeding from the nose. A nosebleed may be caused by a number of things, including blunt trauma, infections, tumours and the structure of your nose.
Epistaxis embolisation is a minimally invasive procedure in which the blood vessel is deliberately blocked in order to stop the nosebleed.
How does the procedure work?
The aim of the procedure is to stop the blood flowing into the vessels which cause the nosebleed, without preventing blood from flowing into the area around the affected vessel.
The interventional radiologist will insert a 2-3 mm tube into your groin and then guide the tube under imaging to the blood vessel causing the nosebleed. They will then insert small resin particles (known as microparticles) or small metal spirals (coils) into the bleeding vessel or vessels. This causes the vessel or vessels to become blocked and so stops the bleeding.
Why perform it?
The main reason to treat nosebleeds is the risk of breathing in blood, as if too much blood is inhaled there is a risk of drowning.
What are the risks?
Minor risks include bruising in the groin. More significant risks include the risk of the microparticles or the coils moving to other areas of your body or blocking other artery branches.
1. Krajina A, Chrobok V. Radiological Diagnosis and Management of Epistaxis. Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol. 2013 Nov 15.
2. Villwock JA, Jones K. Recent Trends in Epistaxis Management in the United States: 2008-2010. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2013 Oct 17.