The future of bleeding control: Obsidio™ Conformable Embolic

May 17, 2023
An animation of a pink blood vessel, inside of which a yellow catheter is releasing the black, gooey Obsidio embolic agent.
Obsidio can behave like both a solid and a liquid to control bleeding.

Suppose you’re a doctor who needs to stop blood flow in a patient. Maybe it’s a patient with internal bleeding after an accident. Perhaps it’s to starve the blood supply of a patient’s cancerous tumor before surgical removal. Or maybe a patient has bleeding in a vessel that is just hard to control.

In any of these situations, doctors will typically perform an embolization, a minimally invasive procedure that creates an obstruction in a vessel to stop blood from flowing to a specific area. The material used to create the obstruction is known as the embolic agent and historically comes in two forms, solid or liquid. For physicians, however, choosing between a solid and a liquid is effectively a choice between precision and speed:

  • Solid embolic coils allow for more controlled placement, which creates a more complete obstruction to blood flow. However, the procedure may not be fast enough.
  • Liquid embolics can be delivered more quickly, but because they tend to be harder to control, the obstruction they form may not fully occlude blood flow or may spread to unintended areas.
Faced with this difficult decision, physicians expressed that ideally, they’d have a third tool in their embolization toolbelts: an embolic that would combine the best qualities of both a solid and a liquid, Goldilocks-style. To meet that need, Boston Scientific recently launched the Obsidio™ Conformable Embolic: a novel, “just right” substance combining the benefits of both solid and liquid embolics, while overcoming many of the challenges of each.

Solid, liquid, or both? First-of-its-kind technology

The Obsidio embolic is conformable, meaning that it can behave like both a solid and a liquid. In its pre-packaged, ready-to-use syringe, the Obsidio embolic resembles a black, paste-like substance. Depending on how much force is applied to the syringe, its properties change due to a phenomenon known as shear thinning. As the material is pushed through a catheter on its way to a targeted site, it “thins” and flows readily, like a liquid. When force is removed as the material reaches its intended location, it reverts to a soft solid that molds to the targeted vasculature’s unique shape, almost instantly creating a complete physical barrier that stops the blood flow. As such, the Obsidio embolic has established a new paradigm in embolization; it is the first and only conformable embolic indicated to control bleeding and stop blood flow to tumors in the peripheral vasculature.



“Obsidio is a distinctly differentiated offering and rounds out our comprehensive set of solutions designed to address a wide range of embolization needs,” said Peter Pattison, president, interventional oncology and embolization, Peripheral Interventions, Boston Scientific. “It is highly versatile and can be used in conjunction with other embolics, including our EMBOLD™ Fibered Coil, or as a standalone solution, depending on each patient’s unique anatomy and needs.”

For a substance with such complex capabilities, the Obsidio embolic is made of just four simple ingredients: laponite, gelatin, water and tantalum. Originally developed by a team of three scientists in conjunction with feedback from interventional radiologists, the combination of these materials created strong electrostatic interactions with one another. The founders continued to experiment with the proportions of each ingredient until their efforts yielded the “just right” formula for controlling bleeding: a stable and homogenous conformable embolic.

The future of embolization?

Boston Scientific recognized the potential of this novel technology and the tremendous impact it could have on patient care if it were implemented on a large scale. The company acquired Obsidio, Inc. in 2022. And last week, the very first cases in the U.S. were performed using the technology.

While currently in a limited market evaluation in the U.S., Boston Scientific is working with doctors as they gain deeper clinical experience in using the Obsidio embolic and develop further expertise in techniques for use of this technology for bleeding control. The device is expected to become more widely available later this year – providing the ability for this brand-new embolization solution to reach more patients in need.


Learn more about the range of innovative embolization solutions for interventional oncology at Boston Scientific.