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Endovascular Embolization

(Endovascular Coiling)

Pronounced: endo-vas-kyoo-lar embo-lie-zay-shun


This is a procedure to fill or close blood vessels. This prevents bleeding and rupture. It is an alternative to open surgery.

Reasons for Procedure

Endovascular embolization can treat many conditions such as:

Brain Aneurysm
GN00002_brain aneurysm.jpg

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The procedure can be used alone or with other treatments. It can make your quality of life better by stopping bleeding or lowering the risk of rupture.

Possible Complications

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review possible problems such as:

  • General:
    • Bleeding
    • Infection
    • Blood clots
    • Reaction to the anesthesia or dyes used in imaging tests
    • Ruptured aneurysm during surgery
  • Treating brain lesions may cause:
    • Weakness
    • Numbness or tingling
    • Speech problems
    • Vision changes
    • Confusion, memory loss
    • Seizures

Your chances of problems are higher for:

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

You may have:

Leading up to your procedure:

  • Talk to your doctor about the medicines you take. You may need to stop them up to 1 week in advance.
  • Arrange for a ride home.
  • The night before the procedure, don't eat or drink anything after midnight.
  • Women should let their doctor know if they're pregnant or planning to become pregnant.


General anesthesia is used. It will block any pain and keep you asleep.

Description of the Procedure

The groin will be shaved and sterilized. The catheter will be inserted here.

A tiny cut will be made in the groin to access an artery. The catheter will be placed in the artery. Then, it’s threaded up to the site. A special dye is injected. It makes it easier to see on a video monitor. X-rays will help the doctor find the right place. The blood vessel can be closed with:

  • Medicines
  • Coils
  • Stents
  • Other man made material

They’re inserted though the catheter and to the site. Imaging tests will confirm the blood vessels are closed. The catheter and IV are removed. A bandage will cover the wound.

Immediately After Procedure

You will lie still for 6-8 hours.

How Long Will It Take?

30 minutes to several hours—the time depends on what needs to be done

How Much Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Medicines will ease pain after.

Average Hospital Stay

Normally, you will stay for 2 days. You will need to stay longer if you have any problems.

Post-procedure Care

At the Hospital

  • You will rest.
  • Your vital signs will be watched.

During your stay, the healthcare staff will take steps to lower your chances of infection such as:

  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing gloves or masks
  • Keeping your incisions covered.

There are also steps you can take to lower your chance of infection such as:

  • Washing your hands often and reminding your healthcare staff to do the same
  • Reminding your healthcare staff to wear gloves or masks
  • Not allowing others to touch your incision

At Home

To help you heal faster, you may need:

  • Physical or rehabilitative therapy
  • To care for the wound to prevent infection

Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if any of these occur:

  • Changes in balance, strength, or movement
  • Changes in mental state
  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling
  • Fever or chills
  • Redness, swelling, pain, bleeding, or pus from the wound
  • Headaches
  • Vision problems
  • Fainting
  • Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you were given
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Bladder or bowel problems
  • Pain, swelling, or cramping in your legs

Call for emergency medical services right away for:

  • Seizures
  • Breathing problems
  • Chest pain

If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.


Brain Aneurysm Foundation

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


Brain Injury Canada

Heart and Stroke Foundation


Catheter embolization. Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at: Updated April 30, 2018. Accessed July 18, 2018.

Endovascular (embolization) treatment of aneurysms. The Toronto Brain Vascular Malformation Study Group website. Available at: Accessed July 18, 2018.

Splenic artery aneurysm (SAA). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated February 22, 2016. Accessed July 18, 2018.

Vascular malformations in the brain. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated June 6, 2018. Accessed July 18, 2018.

Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Fucci, DO, FACC  Last Updated: 7/18/2018