- The current role of renal embolization in carcinoma of the kidney is uncertain. In order to assess surgeons' opinion of its usefulness a questionnaire was circulated to all general urologists practising in Britain and Ireland. Also, a series of cases in which the technique was employed (n = 35) was reviewed and compared with a similar group who were not embolized (n = 40). There was a 71% response to the survey. The principal findings were that all but five urologists believe that embolization should not be used routinely in the management of renal cell carcinoma. Thirty-five per cent stated that they felt it has a role in management of symptoms in metastatic or inoperable tumours. The review of both series of patients in our unit shows that embolization (using 95% ethanol infused via a balloon occlusion catheter) did not reduce peroperative blood loss and did significantly increase hospital stay. There were no deaths in this series, and morbidity was confined to 'post-embolization syndrome' in 16 cases. We believe that in those cases where embolization is indicated, alcohol infusion via a balloon occlusion catheter is a safe and efficient method.