Transarterial Chemoembolization (TACE)

What is TACE?

Transarterial Chemoembolization, known as TACE, is a minimally-invasive, image-guided treatment for liver cancer. It helps shrink or eradicate tumors by targeting them and blocking their blood flow and delivering chemotherapy directly to the tumor. It allows doctors to treat tumors that are not accessible using conventional surgery or radiation treatments. 

During TACE, an interventional radiologist delivers chemotherapy medicine directly to the blood vessels supplying the liver tumor using real-time image guidance through a tiny incision in the groin. The interventional radiologist also physically blocks the blood vessels feeding the tumor. TACE typically takes about two hours and may require an overnight hospital stay so we can monitor your condition.

How Do I Prepare for TACE?

  • Consultation - We will schedule an appointment for you. We may also draw blood to check blood counts and liver and kidney function.
  • When to Arrive - Arrival time varies according to procedure. We will tell you what time to arrive when you make your appointment.
  • Contrast - TACE uses contrast material (which has iodine in it) to help our interventional radiologists see the blood vessels of the liver better. The contrast material is injected into the arteries. Contrast helps the interventional radiologist see inside the body more clearly. We carefully assess your risk and any potential allergies before giving you contrast. 
  • Eating and Drinking - Please do not eat solid foods, candy, gum, or drink liquids after midnight on the night before your procedure. Your procedure may be canceled if you do.
  • Medications - It is important to tell us the names of any medications you are taking before your procedure. You may need to stop taking certain medications. In addition, you may be prescribed medication for you to take a few days before the procedure.
  • Sedation - Once you arrive, one of our nurses will insert an IV line to give you sedation medications to make you feel more comfortable during the TACE procedure. You will also be attached to a cardiac monitor, given a catheter to collect your urine and connected to a blood pressure monitor. The incision area in the groin will be cleaned and shaved, and you will receive medication to numb the area.

What Happens After TACE?

After your procedure, you should take it easy for a few days and avoid any strenuous activity for 10 days. Most people get back to normal activity in one to three weeks.