Biomaterials used in injectable implants (liquid embolics) for percutaneous filling of vascular spaces

Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol. 2005 Sep-Oct;28(5):561-9. doi: 10.1007/s00270-004-0238-7.


The biomaterials currently used in injectable implants (liquid embolics) for minimally invasive image-guided treatment of vascular lesions undergo, once injected in situ, a phase transition based on a variety of physicochemical principles. The mechanisms leading to the formation of a solid implant include polymerization, precipitation and cross-linking through ionic or thermal process. The biomaterial characteristics have to meet the requirements of a variety of treatment conditions. The viscosity of the liquid is adapted to the access instrument, which can range from 0.2 mm to 3 mm in diameter and from a few centimeters up to 200 cm in length. Once such liquid embolics reach the vascular space, they are designed to become occlusive by inducing thrombosis or directly blocking the lesion when hardening of the embolics occurs. The safe delivery of such implants critically depends on their visibility and their hardening mechanism. Once delivered, the safety and effectiveness issues are related to implant functions such as biocompatibility, biodegradability or biomechanical properties. We review here the available and the experimental products with respect to the nature of the polymer, the mechanism of gel cast formation and the key characteristics that govern the choice of effective injectable implants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Absorbable Implants
  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / administration & dosage*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bioprosthesis
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Embolization, Therapeutic*
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Prostheses and Implants*
  • Tissue Adhesives / administration & dosage
  • Vascular Diseases / therapy*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Tissue Adhesives