Kidney embolisation

blocks blood supply to A Kidney tumour, causing it to shrink. 

If you experience a kidney condition, such as cancer, you may require embolisation. 

About kidney embolisation

Embolisation is a treatment option for patients with kidney cancer. If removing your kidney isn't possible, this is an alternative to surgery. The procedure deliberately blocks blood supply to the kidney, causing the tumour to shrink. Your renal consultant will discuss this in detail with you to put your mind at ease.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Kidney embolisation is normally carried out under local anaesthetic. Your surgeon's techniques may vary but they may follow this process:

    Your consultant surgeon will start by making a small incision in the groin area, before inserting a catheter (long, thin tube) into the blood vessel. Using X-ray images, they will then inject a fluid (blocking agent) into the blood vessel through the catheter. This fluid blocks the blood supply to the kidney area that is to be embolised (obstructed). This can take up to three hours. Pain relief medication may be given to you during this time. At the end of the procedure, your consultant surgeon will remove the catheter. Pressure may be applied to the incision area to stop bleeding.

  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain the procedure and answer any questions you might have. You will have blood and urine tests beforehand to ensure you are not at risk during kidney embolisation. You may be advised to not eat anything four hours prior to treatment. You should be able to drink water up to two hours before.

    Intravenous fluids are passed into your blood stream around two hours before the procedure. If you take painkillers, blood thinning medication or anticoagulants, your consultant will advise you on when to stop taking these. It is normally stopped or your dose will be adjusted at least one week prior to the procedure.

  • Afterwards icon plus

    You will remain in hospital for monitoring after kidney embolisation. Your consultant and nurses may check the following:

    • Swelling and/or bleeding in the groin area where the catheter was inserted.
    • Blood pressure, circulation, pulse and temperature.
    • If you experience any pain or discomfort.
    • The amount of oxygen in your blood.

    You may also be given a urinary catheter to drain urine from your bladder. This helps your consultant to ensure blood and urine levels around your kidneys are sufficient When you are ready to go home, your consultant may give you medication to assist your recovery. They will also advise you on follow-up appointments.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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