Embolotherapy course gains widespread interest as embolization “still underused” in Latin America

Ricardo Garcia Monaco

The 6th annual Embolotherapy Course was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in November 2015 with a high attendance from Latin American interventional radiologists. The programme involved basic and advanced sessions on state of the art techniques on interventional oncology, vascular malformations and genitourinary diseases, writes Ricardo Garcia Monaco.


A huge part of the programme was devoted to the clinical and technical role of interventional radiology in modern oncology management, particularly in liver, bone and renal tumours. The attendees were enthusiastic about the hepatocellular carcinoma and colorectal metastases sessions because of the increasing demand for Latin American oncologists and surgeons to join interventional radiology in the treatment of these tumours. Hot topics were the convienent integration of transarterial chemoembolization using drug-eluting beads and Y-90 radioembolization in the paradigm of treatment for liver tumours.

There were also two educational sessions dedicated to “what to do and what not to do”  in the management of vascular malformations, including the use of  new embolic materials in the appropriate setting. Vascular malformations are still ill-understood and the role of a trained interventional radiologists is a key issue for proper management. Half a day was devoted to embolization for women, including fibroids, placenta accreta and post-partum haemorrhage. The same session also focused on prostate embolization for benign prostatic hyperplasia for men.

Fibroid embolization is still underutilised in Latin America and the audience was  very attentive on “how to start a succesful programme”. Jean Pierre Pelage from Paris, France was invited as guest faculty to lecture on embolization, but due to the terrorist attacks that ocurred in Paris the same week was unable to fly. He generously sent his talks for local staff to present and was available himself on live link.

Prostate embolization to treat bening prostatic hyperplasia, an emerging and  controversial issue in clinical practice, was discussed as a basic educational session considering that clinical experience in Latin America is scarce with the exception of Brazil and Argentina.

The attendees were able to interact with faculty members in an informal setting during lectures and video case discussions. This interaction was much-needed due to the fact that in many Latin American countries the embolization techniques discussed in the meeting are not widely spread, and some of them are not  even performed outside of Argentina and Brazil.

There was an additional full day devoted solely to workshops and hands-on activity, that was held at the Vascular and Interventional Radiology section of the Hospital Italiano of Buenos Aires. The main topics were: particulate and  drug-eluting bead embolization, coils and plugs, liquid embolization, percutaneous biopsy  and radiofrequency ablation, venous access and PICCs. The attendees were able to handle material and to perform procedures on simulators, phantoms and also to participate in live cases at the Hospital.

The course was created years ago as the first on the topic in Argentina. Interventional radiology attendees from Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico and other Central American countries expressed their willingess to expand this still underused technique in their countries.

We plan to hold the next Embolotherapy course in Latin America in November 2016.

Ricardo Garcia Monaco is chief of Diagnostic Imaging, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was one of the organisers of the Embolotherapy 2015 meeting