What is Liver Chemoembolization?
Your healthcare provider has requested that you undergo liver chemoembolization. You have been diagnosed with a tumor in your liver which requires treatment. Chemoembolization involves delivering a highly concentrated dose of chemotherapy into the blood vessels feeding the tumor. At the same time, the vessels feeding the tumor are blocked, cutting off some of the blood supply to the tumor. This starves the tumor from blood flow and exposes it to a high concentration of chemotherapy.
How Should I Prepare?
You should not eat or drink anything for six hours prior to your procedure. You may take your medications as directed. Speak to your doctor if you need to adjust your insulin dosing. Prior to your procedure, you should make sure all medications and allergies are updated. If you are on a blood thinner you may be requested to stop that medication for a period of time.
How is the Procedure Performed?
The procedure will be performed by an interventional radiologist, who is a physician with specific training in image-guided procedures. The procedure will be performed under fluoroscopy (x-ray). Intravenous medications may be given to make you more comfortable and relaxed. This is called conscious sedation.
The skin will be cleaned with sterilizing solution and numbing medicine injected. A catheter (small tube) is then advanced from a blood vessel in the groin into the blood vessels supplying the liver.
A dose of chemotherapy and small particles will be injected into the liver tumor. This procedure typically takes 1-2 hours. Upon completion, the catheter will be removed and pressure applied to the area to avoid bleeding.
What Should I Expect After the Procedure?
You will be asked to lie flat in bed for a few hours to prevent bleeding complications. If needed, medications will be given to help control any symptoms that you may experience. Most patients are admitted to the hospital for overnight observation. You will be given prescriptions for additional medication to take at home.
Who Interprets the Results of the Procedure?
In order to assess how the tumor was affected by the procedure, you may have a CT or MRI in 1-3 months.