Trans arterial chemoembolization is a minimally invasive treatment option for liver tumours, performed by an interventional radiologist (IR). The procedure is performed under aseptic conditions in the angiography suite. During the procedure, local anaesthesia (pain killer) is injected into the skin at the access site to prevent discomfort. An injection of a mild sedative can also be given to ensure that you are comfortable and relaxed during the procedure. Through a pin hole access in the groin or the left wrist, a catheter (fine plastic tube) is introduced in to the blood vessel inside the liver which specifically supplies the tumour. After confirming safe catheter placement, a combination of chemotherapy agent and a blood vessel blocking agent (embolic) is administered. So, the tumour’s blood supply is cut off and a high concentration of the chemotherapy is delivered to the tumour in the same setting.
The advantage of this therapy over conventional intravenous chemotherapy is that the patients do not suffer from the usual side effects of the IV chemotherapy such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea or hair loss, as the rest of the healthy liver or the body is not exposed to the drug.