IR Treatment Procedures

What is Interventional Radiology?

Interventional Radiology is a subspecialty of radiology in which minimally invasive procedures are performed using image guidance. Some of these procedures are done for purely diagnostic purposes (for example, Angiography), while others are done for treatment purposes (for example, Embolization).

Images are used to direct these procedures, which are usually done with needles or other tiny instruments like small tubes called catheters. The images are like a map that allow the Radiologist to guide these instruments through the body to the area where the procedure is to be done.

Types of Interventional Radiology

Arteriograms :

Minimally invasive procedure to improve blood flow to a particular area. Tiny balloons are used to stretch blood vessels, which are narrowed and diseased. This procedure is used to treat leg pains, hypertension, kidney disease, strokes or circulatory disorders. These procedures are often surgery sparing.

Angioplasty :

Minimally invasive procedure to improve blood flow to a particular area. Tiny balloons are used to stretch blood vessels, which are narrowed and diseased. This procedure is used to treat leg pains, hypertension, kidney disease, strokes or circulatory disorders. These procedures are often surgery sparing.

Stents :

A minimally invasive procedure during which metal tubes are used to prop open blood vessels or bile ducts.

Embolization :

Minimally invasive procedure used to decrease blood flow to various organs. This is utilized in instances of abnormal bleeding, such as due to trauma or cancer. Embolization has also been used for treatment of pelvic pain or bleeding related to uterine fibroids.

Venous Access :

Portacaths, PICC Lines, Dialysis Catheters. Using minimally invasive techniques long-term and short-term vascular access catheters are placed in the Interventional Radiology suite. Studies have showed improved success rates using imaging guidance as compared to surgery.

Biopsy :

Fine needle biopsy is a minimally invasive alternative to open surgical biopsy. A small needle is inserted into the area in question to help determine further therapy. The needle biopsy is often less risky and more easily tolerable for a patient.

Fibroid Embolization :

Known medically as uterine artery embolization, this is a new alternative for women. It is a minimally invasive procedure, which means it requires only a tiny nick in the skin. It is performed while the patient is conscious but sedated - drowsy and feeling no pain.

Interventional Radiology Preparations

Each patient is unique so a pre-procedure preparation will be given to each patient. Please try to give your Interventional Radiologist a list of medications when you meet with them. Your doctor will work with your Primary Physician to help determine and give you the best treatment possible

Interventional Radiology FAQ’s

How long will it take to get the results?

At the conclusion of the procedure the radiologist will inform you of any results. The radiologist will also generate a report which will be sent to doctor within 24-48 hours.

How long do the procedures take?

The amount of time varies between procedures. Some take as little as 15 minutes and most are completed in under 1 hour. For more procedure you will be able to stay in hospital for less than 24 hrs observation.

How painful is the procedure?

Every effort is made to make you comfortable. Numbing medicine is used similar to what your dentist administers. While some discomforts are appended, these are tolerated by most patience, if required sedation can be given with the help of anesthetic.

What is a catheter?

A catheter is a simply a thin tube which is inserted into your body. These tubes allow medication and fluids to be injected into your body without needing a needle to be inserted each time. There are many different kinds of catheters, each with a specific use. Some catheters can actually be implanted under your skin so that no part of the tube is visible from the outside. The type of catheter you will receive will be discussed with you at length prior to the procedure.

How long does the catheter stay in?

The lenght of time your catheter stays in is dependent on why it was inserted in the first place. The length of time will be discussed with you prior to starting the procedure. Some stay in for a couple of days, others stay in for months.

Can I go home after the procedure?

For most procedures after 24 hours of observation, occasionally the radiologist will want to monitor you for an day or two. This monitoring is to ensure that it is safe for you to go home. If you have any problems after going home you will be given a number to call for assistance.