Preoperative Tumor Embolization

Many of the tumors that occur in the head, neck and spine have a large blood supply. This can make surgical removal of these tumors difficult and risky. These tumors include meningiomas (tumors of the covering of the brain), paragangliomas or glomus tumors (tumors associated with nerves of the head and neck), juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibromas (tumors of the nose that occur in young males), head and neck cancers, and tumors of the bones of the spine (vertebrae). When surgery is planned, a catheter is placed into an artery (usually in the leg) and threaded up through to the artery or arteries supplying blood to the tumor. Material is injected to block off the blood supply to the tumor (embolization). This is usually performed within a few days before surgery.