Embolization involves injecting an “agent” into a blood vessel (a vein or artery) that feeds a lesion or into the lesion itself in order to block them. A catheter, introduced into the vessels through a puncture, is guided to the area to be treated by an interventional radiologist who relies on imaging to guide his procedure. The injected materials are chosen according to the nature of the lesion. Carried out under local anesthesia, without scars and without stitches, embolization allows a shortening of treatment times (ambulatory or short hospitalization) and a rapid return to activity for the patient.
Born in the 1980s for the treatment of serious pathologies (cancers and trauma), embolization has since developed with the miniaturization of equipment and the improvement of imaging technologies. It is today used to treat widespread functional pathologies such as hemorrhoids, prostate adenomas or uterine fibroids. In oncology, “chemoembolization” also makes it possible to treat liver cancers and liver metastases.
A recent phase III study, published in the journal The Lancet, established that embolization was more effective than drug treatment in reducing symptoms (urinary and sexual function problems) and reoperations of prostate adenomas resistant to alpha-blockers. Other work has shown the good results of embolization in the management of uterine fibroids and pelvic varicose veins, also very common and disabling pathologies.
The IMVOC group (Imagerie Médicale Val d’Ouest Charcot) created Embolyon, a center dedicated to embolization, to democratize this therapy, which is still little known to the general public and healthcare professionals. The center works in collaboration with patient associations to raise awareness of embolization among those who can benefit from it.
In its daily operation, Embolyon relies on five interventional radiologists trained in embolization, as well as a team of specialist manipulators and a secretariat. The center has a state-of-the-art interventional radiology room, entirely dedicated to embolization.
As an alternative or complement to conventional treatments, embolization constitutes an important part of the future of interventional radiology, and the future of medicine. Aware of this potential, IMVOC and Embolyon therefore work daily to offer patients the necessary care structures, as close as possible to them and accessible to all.
Sapoval M, Thiounn N, Descazeaud A, et al. Prostatic artery embolisation versus medical treatment in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (PARTEM): a randomised, multicentre, open-label, phase 3, superiority trial. Lancet Reg Health Eur. 2023;31:100672. Published 2023 Jun 26. doi:10.1016/j.lanepe.2023.100672
De Gregorio MA, Guirola JA, Alvarez-Arranz E, Sánchez-Ballestin M, Urbano J, Sierre S. Pelvic Venous Disorders in Women due to Pelvic Varices: Treatment by Embolization: Experience in 520 Patients. J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2020;31(10):1560-1569. doi:10.1016/j.jvir.2020.06.017
Fonseca MCM, Castro R, Machado M, Conte T, Girao MJBC. Uterine Artery Embolization and Surgical Methods for the Treatment of Symptomatic Uterine Leiomyomas: A Systemic Review and Meta-analysis Followed by Indirect Treatment Comparison. Clin Ther. 2017;39(7):1438-1455.e2. doi:10.1016/j.clinthera.2017.05.346