Interventional Radiology is an area of medicine which combines
diagnostic imaging with minimally invasive procedures. Interventional
radiologists are involved in the treatment of the patient, as well as
the diagnosis of disease. Imaging technology is used to target, guide
and monitor treatments of conditions inside the body from the outside.
Interventional radiology uses a variety of imaging techniques—including
X-rays, fluoroscopy, CT, MRI and ultrasound—to insert small instruments
and tools through small incisions in the skin to target sites deep
within the body. These can include needles, catheters, wires or stents
that can be used to perform biopsies, drain fluids, deliver medication
or opening up narrowed ducts and vessels throughout the body.
These procedures are often performed under local anesthesia with
intravenous (IV) sedation and typically do not require general
anesthesia, to complex surgical treatment and in many cases eliminating
the need for hospitalization.
Procedures Performed by the Interventional Radiologist
Typical interventional procedures include:
Angioplasty: The use of a small balloon on the tip of a
catheter inserted into a blood vessel to open up an area of
blockage inside blood vessel.
Embolization: The insertion of a substance through a
catheter into a blood vessel to stop hemorrhaging, or excessive
Insertion of gastrostomy tubes: Inserting feeding tubes
into into the stomach if patients are unable to take food by
Intravascular ultrasound: The use of ultrasound inside
a blood vessel to better visualize the interior of the vessel in
order to detect problems inside the blood vessel.
Stent placement: A tiny, expandable coil, called a
stent, is placed inside a blood vessel at the site of a
blockage, then to open up the blockage.
Foreign body extraction: The use of a catheter inserted
into a blood vessel to retrieve a foreign body in the vessel.
Needle biopsy: Imaging technology is used to help
insert and guide a small needle into the breast or other part of
the body to obtain a tissue biopsy.
Insertion of blood clot filters: A small filter is
inserted into a blood clot to catch and break up blood clots.
Injection of clot-lysing agents: Clot-lysing agents,
such as tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), are injected into
the body to dissolve blood clots, increasing blood flow to the
heart or brain.
Catheter insertion: A catheter is inserted into veins
to administer chemotherapy drugs, nutritional support and
Cryoablation: Localized destruction of tissue by
Cancer treatment: Cancer medications can be delivered
precisely to the tumor site.
Benefits of Interventional Radiology
Less pain for the patient
A reduced need for general anesthesia
Shortened recovery times
Diminished risk to the patient
Eliminates the need for costly, complex, invasive surgery
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