Hepatic Artery Embolization Offered by Top Cancer Surgeons

Surgical Oncology at Mercy - Baltimore

The cancer surgeons of Surgical Oncology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, are a collaborative team of oncology physicians and cancer specialists who provide patients a comprehensive treatment approach for a variety of cancers. Our surgical oncologists offer hepatic artery embolization for patients with advanced liver cancer. 

What is Hepatic Artery Embolization?

Hepatic artery embolization is a technique used to treat tumors of the liver that cannot be completely removed with surgery.

The liver has two blood supplies. Normal liver cells are typically fed by the portal vein, whereas cancer cells in the liver are typically fed by the hepatic artery. During hepatic artery embolization, blocking agents are injected into the hepatic artery, blocking the blood supply to the cancer cells and helping to eliminate the tumor. Healthy liver cells are unharmed because they get their blood supply from the unaffected portal vein.

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How is a Hepatic Artery Embolization Performed?

There are several types of hepatic artery embolization techniques and each are performed slightly differently.

  • Transarterial embolization (TAE) – In the procedure, a dye is injected into the bloodstream using a catheter (thin tube) placed into the hepatic artery. The dye allows the doctor to monitor the path of the catheter using an X-ray. When the catheter is in place, particles are injected into the artery to cut off the blood supply to the tumor.
  • Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) – This procedure combines embolization with chemotherapy. The particles used to block the artery and cut off the blood supply to the tumor are combined with cancer-killing chemotherapeutic agents.