Patients with liver tumors may be candidates for a procedure known as Trans Arterial Chemoembolization also known as TACE or HACE (Hepatic Artery Chemoembolization). In this procedure, a catheter is placed from an artery in the groin and into the arteries feeding the tumor. Chemotherapy is administered and an agent to block the blood supply to the tumor is injected. Once the tumor is completely treated the catheter is removed. Patients are admitted to the hospital overnight for observation and typically leave the next morning.
Why TACE and am I a candidate?
TACE may be used for tumors coming from the liver itself (Hepatocellular carcinoma also known as HCC) or that have spread to the tumor from other organs.
All patients should be seen by a surgeon first. Surgical resection is the standard of care for liver cancer. In patients that are not candidates for surgery, TACE is a very good option and offers similar results to surgery.
Your radiologist will carefully evaluate the size of your tumor, how well your liver works and location of tumor elsewhere to determine if you are a candidate.
What should I expect?
Typically the procedure takes 1-2 hours and is performed with a combination of local anesthesia and sedation. You will need to lie flat with your leg straight for 6 hours after the procedure. Most patients will develop what is known as Post Embolization Syndrome and will experience some amount of pain and nausea for at least a day after the procedure which can be controlled with medication. Because of this, patients are admitted to the hospital after the procedure for control of their symptoms and IV hydration. Patients typically leave the hospital the day after the procedure, but may feel malaise and fatigue for 1-4 weeks. Patients may need more than one treatment and will need to be followed at regular intervals with repeat scans and blood tests.
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