Portal Vein Embolization

Portal vein embolization (PVE) is a technique used before hepatic resection to increase the size of liver segments that will remain after surgery. This therapy redirects portal blood to segments of the future liver remnant (FLR), resulting in hypertrophy.

When is this procedure recommended? 

PVE is typically performed before a major liver resection procedure.

How is the procedure performed?

An interventional radiologist will place a needle percutaneously (through the skin) into the liver and identify the blood vessel on the side where the largest part of the tumor is being supplied. Tiny microspheres are then infused into the portal vein which supplies blood to the area, embolizing it by cutting off its blood supply. 

This blockade of the blood supply makes the other side of the liver regrow. After several weeks, the non-embolized side has grown enough so that surgery is now a viable option.

What are the benefits?

  • Improves the volume of the future liver remnant, which can help reduce the risk of post-hepatectomy liver failure
  • Advances the liver's ability to excrete bile and its metabolic function
  • Increasing the chances of a complete liver cancer removal
  • Can help reduce complications and shorten hospital stays after liver resection surgery


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