Cerebral Embolization: Preparing for Discharge and Care at Home
Embolization of the blood vessels in the brain
is done in Interventional Radiology by our
Neuroendovasular specialists. It may be done
to treat a brain aneurysm or an arterial-venous
malformation (AVM), or dural Arteriovenous
Fistula (dAVF). It can also be used in
combination with open neurosurgery or
stereotactic radiosurgery to repair an AVM.
What is embolized depends on the size,
location, symptoms, hemodynamics, and
anatomic vasculature of the area to be treated.
The Neuro-Interventional doctor uses a special
x-ray camera (fluoroscopy), contrast dye in
order to see the blood vessels, and a special
small catheter to check the blood vessels in the
brain and then inject the embolization material
through to the blood vessel.
The Neuro-Interventional doctor will inject
small soft metal coils, a liquid embolic
material or solid particle into the aneurysm or
blood vessel to “block off” the aneurysm or
problem area of the blood vessel.
After the Surgery
You will remain in the recovery room one to
two hours until fully awake, at which time you
will be taken to either NSICU or a room on
D6/4. Most often, your stay will be about 2
days. During this time, nurses and doctors will
be checking your arm and leg strength, pupil
size, and level of alertness. They will be
keeping track of the amount of fluid you drink
and excrete. You can expect to have an IV in
an arm vein until you are able to take enough
fluid by mouth, and leg wraps to prevent clots
forming in the legs.
You may feel more pressure in the head or
have a headache. Pain medicine will be
ordered and ready if this occurs.
You will be asked to get out of bed the same
day or the day after, and to slowly increase
your activity in order to be walking in the
halls before discharge. Walking is the best
You will be offered clear liquids first,
returning slowly to a normal diet as you are
able to take solid food.
If your vision is normal, you are not taking
narcotic medicines, and your leg has healed,
you may drive, unless the doctor has advised
Your return to work will be discussed at the
first clinic visit. The amount of time off work
varies from 2-4 weeks.
This will depend upon your doctor's advice.
Although there are very few outward signs
that you've had an embolization, your body
has gone through a major surgery (a brain
surgery) and you usually go home with just a
small bandage over the artery in your groin.
You will need to take things a little easy for a
while. Slowly work back into your routine,
always within the guidelines set by your
doctor. You can return to your routines when
you feel better. How much you can do
depends on your level of comfort and fatigue.
ξ You should not soak in water for the
ξ You may shower and gently wash the
puncture site with mild soap and
water. Do not rub this area, blot with
a towel to dry.
ξ You may remove the bandage over
your groin site when you shower.
ξ You may resume your normal bathing
habits after 1 week.
Things to Avoid Until You Talk with your
ξ Contact sports
ξ Weight lifting
ξ Hard exercise, walking is ok
ξ Lifting more than 20-25 pounds
ξ Stooping or bending over (squat if you
need to pick things up
ξ Things that may raise your blood
ξ Avoid all tobacco products and
Resume the diet you were on before surgery.
Try to increase the amount of fiber you eat
and the water you drink because you do not
want to strain to have a bowel movement.
You should try to drink about 8 glasses of
water a day.
Please refer to the “Avoiding Constipation”
Health Facts for you. Increase your fiber and
water intake, as noted above. Walk and be as
active as you can but follow the restrictions
listed above. If you have problems, you can
get stool softeners at the pharmacy. Do not
use suppositories or enemas.
Reasons to Call Your Doctor
ξ Feeling dizzy
ξ Severe or increased headaches
ξ Vision changes
ξ Continued nausea or vomiting
ξ Feeling sleepy for long periods
ξ Change in behavior
ξ Problems with walking or balance
ξ Constipation not relieved by stool
softeners and increased fiber and water
ξ Fever over 100.5 for 24 hours
ξ Any signs of wound infection
including redness, swelling or
If you have any questions or concerns call:
The neuroendovascular office at (608) 263-4730, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Your neuroendovascular surgeon is: _______________________________________________
Your admitting doctor is: _______________________________________________________
After hours, weekends, and holidays, call the paging operator at (608) 262-0486 and ask for the
doctor on call for neuro-interventional. If you live outside the area, call toll free at (800) 323-8942.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 7/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing HF#4453.