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Learn about interventional radiology
Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging provides transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), a minimally invasive, image-guided treatment for liver cancer tumors, on the Mass General main campus in Boston. Performed by specially trained radiologists using real-time image guidance, interventional-radiology procedures such as TACE often require smaller incisions, have fewer risks of complication, and take less recovery time than traditional surgery.
TACE in depth
What is TACE?
TACE is an image-guided, non-surgical procedure that is used to treat malignant lesions in the liver. The procedure uses a catheter to deliver both chemotherapy medication and embolization materials into the blood vessels that lead to the tumor. This allows doctors to treat tumors that are not accessible using conventional surgery or radiation treatments.
The interventional radiologists who perform procedures at Mass General Imaging are specialists in the area of the body and the condition under treatment, as well as the procedure itself. In addition to the training that all radiologists receive, these specialists have additional education, plus extensive real-world experience. In many cases, our doctors helped to pioneer many of the interventional treatments that we offer.
Our team of interventional radiologists and nurse practitioners coordinates a patient's complete care—from imaging evaluation to post-procedure followup—maintaining a high level of communication with the patient throughout the process. In addition, Mass General Imaging works in close coordination with experts from across Mass General when necessary.
What should I expect BEFORE TACE?
What should I expect DURING TACE?
During the procedure, a specially trained interventional radiologist uses live imaging to thread a plastic tube, called a catheter, through your blood vessels from a small incision in the groin to the liver. The doctor then uses the catheter to deliver the chemotherapy medication and embolization materials.
What should I expect AFTER TACE?
You will be admitted to the hospital overnight so that we can monitor your condition. Once you return home, you should take it easy for a few days and avoid any strenuous activity for 10 days. Most people return to a normal level of activity in one to three weeks.
Department of Radiology Chairman Emeritus James H. Thrall, MD, explains how the ability to see deep inside the body has driven the development of minimally invasive methods of treatment—a trend in which Mass General Imaging has played a key role.
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