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Learn More about Chemoembolization

Scheduling and Directions


DeKalb Medical offers chemoembolization, a procedure that combines chemotherapy with the blockage of blood flow to a tumor. Chemoembolization is most often used to treat cancer of the liver or other cancers that have spread from the liver. In this treatment, X-rays are used to guide a catheter (thin tube) into your arteries and to the tumor.

Anti-cancer drugs are injected into the cancerous tumor, avoiding exposure of the entire body to the effects of these drugs. Then synthetic material called an embolic agent is placed inside the blood vessels that supply blood to the tumor. This prevents blood from flowing to the cancerous tissue which means the tumor cannot get the oxygen and nutrients it needs to grow. It also traps the chemotherapy in the tumor.

Depending on the number and type of tumors, chemoembolization may be used as the only treatment or may be combined with other treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or radiofrequency ablation.

Because a very strong magnet is used in an MRI scan, if you have a pacemaker and other implanted device you may not be able to have this particular exam. An MRI scan produces dozens and sometimes hundreds of images that can be viewed from many different angles. Single MRI images are called slices. They can be stored on a computer or printed out using film. A radiologist who is specially trained in reviewing your images will promptly provide a report your physician about the findings of your MRI scan in Atlanta at DeKalb Medical. Your physician will share the results with you.

Preparing for Chemoembolization

Your physician will admit you to the hospital prior to your procedure, and a nurse will review your medical history. Have a list of medications that you are current taking and a list of any allergies. If you think you may be pregnant let the nurse know immediately. You should have someone drive you home when you are discharged from the hospital.

Your Chemoembolization

Your nurse will place an IV site in your hand or upper arm in case any medication or sedation is necessary during your procedure. A specially-trained interventional radiologist will perform your chemoembolization using x-rays to guide the procedure. You will lie flat on your back and a nurse will monitor your heart rate and blood pressure during the procedure.

You will be asked if you would like sedation during the procedure to make you feel relaxed and sleepy. The interventional radiologist will numb the skin and make a small incision. With the guidance of the x-ray, the radiologist will insert a catheter thru the skin and into the femoral artery and move it to your liver. The x-ray dye is injected thru your IV, and several images will be taken.

Once the catheter is in the correct position, the radiologist will inject the anti-cancer drugs and embolic agents. More images will be taken to verify the tumor has been treated. Once the procedure is complete, the catheter is removed and a dressing is placed over the incision. The procedure usually takes 90 minutes.

After Your Chemoembolization

After your procedure, you will be moved to a hospital room so you can be monitored for at least for 48 hours. When you are ready to go home, your nurse will give you any after-care instructions including any restrictions on activities. You may be given a prescription for oral medications.

The radiologist who performed your procedure will advise your physician as to whether your procedure was a success. Your physician will follow up with you about the results of your procedure.

Scheduling and Directions

Your physician will contact DeKalb Medical to schedule your chemoembolization procedure for you.

If your chemoembolization will be performed at DeKalb Medical at North Decatur, you will need to go to the hospital’s central registration area.

  • From North Decatur Road, enter the hospital campus via Wash Lively Road.
  • At road end, turn right. (Note: If you are in a wheelchair or need to be dropped off at the entrance, turn left and proceed to the Central Registration patient drop-off which is on the right just past the main hospital entrance. Your driver should then turn around and continue to the Visitor/Patient parking deck.)
  • At stop sign, turn left and park in the Visitor/Patient parking deck.
  • Take any elevator or stairs to the 3rd level.
  • Proceed to the Pedestrian Bridge to the hospital.
  • Take bridge straight ahead to the escalators.
  • Take escalators down one level.
  • Once off escalators, turn right and immediately left and follow the directions to the hospital main lobby.
  • Proceed past the hospital Gift Shop on your right.
  • Once in the main lobby, follow the hallway to Central Registration.
  • At the end of hallway, turn left.
  • Central Registration is on the right.

If your biopsy is being performed at DeKalb Medical at Hillandale, go to the hospital’s registration area.

  • Park in the hospital parking lot.
  • Proceed to the main entrance of the hospital.
  • Registration is directly on the right – you must register before proceeding to the Imaging Department.
  • When you have completed registration, a staff member will direct you to the Imaging Department for your chemoembolization.

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