Interventional Radiologists Are Minimally Invasive Specialists

They Offer State-of-the-Art Modern Medical Advances

Due to technology advances and high-quality imaging equipment becoming widely available, interventional radiologists are able to offer patients and referral physicians a host of treatment options. For details about these ailments and how IRs treat them, please select from the list of choices on the left side of your screen. A glossary of common interventional techniques is below.

Common Interventional Radiology Procedures

Angiography

An X-ray exam of the arteries and veins to diagnose blockages and other blood vessel problems; uses a catheter to enter the blood vessel and a contrast agent (X-ray dye) to make the artery or vein visible on the X-ray.

 

Arteriovenous Malformations (AVM)

Blood vessel abnormalities in the brain or elsewhere. If untreated, AVMs can rupture, causing life-threatening bleeding. Interventional radiologists can often treat these abnormalities without surgery by guiding thin catheters to the site and injecting a substance that blocks the supply of blood to the affected blood vessels.

 

Balloon Angioplasty

Opens blocked or narrowed blood vessels by inserting a very small balloon into the vessel and inflating it. Used by IRs to unblock clogged arteries in the legs or arms (called peripheral arterial disease or PAD), kidneys, brain or elsewhere in the body.

 

Biliary Drainage and Stenting

Uses a stent (small mesh tube) to open up blocked ducts and allow bile to drain from the liver.

 

Bleeding Internally

Interventional radiologists can pinpoint the area of internal bleeding with angiography and inject a clotting substance, such as a gel, foam or tiny coils, through a thin catheter to stop the bleeding.

 

Central Venous Access

Insertion of a tube beneath the skin and into the blood vessels so that patients can receive medication or nutrients directly into the blood stream or so blood can be drawn.

 

Chemoembolization

Delivery of cancer-fighting agents directly to the site of a cancer tumor; currently being used mostly to treat cancers of the endocrine system and liver cancers.

 

Embolization

Delivery of clotting agents (coils, plastic particles, gel, foam, etc.) directly to an area that is bleeding or to block blood flow to a problem area, such as an aneurysm or a fibroid tumor in the uterus.

 

Gastrostomy Tube

Feeding tube inserted into the stomach for patients who are unable to take sufficient food by mouth.

 

Hemodialysis Access Maintenance

Use of angioplasty or thrombolysis to open blocked grafts for hemodialysis, which treats kidney failure.

 

High Blood Pressure

In some patients with high blood pressure, the condition is caused by a narrowing of the arteries in the kidneys. The problem, called renal hypertension, often can be treated with angioplasty.

 

Infection and Abscess Drainage

Patients with a variety of illnesses may develop an area of persistent infection (abscess) in the body. The infection can be drained by inserting a catheter through a small nick in the skin and to the site of the infection. Also used to treat complications of open surgery.

 

Needle Biopsy

Diagnostic test for breast, lung and other cancers; an alternative to surgical biopsy.

 

Radiofrequency Ablation

Use of radiofrequency (RF) energy to "cook" and kill cancerous tumors.

 

Stent

A small flexible tube made of plastic or wire mesh, used to treat a variety of medical conditions (e.g., to hold open clogged blood vessels or other pathways that have been narrowed or blocked by tumors or obstructions).

 

Stent Graft

Reinforces a ruptured or ballooning section of an artery (an aneurysm) with a fabric-wrapped stent C a small, flexible mesh tube used to "patch" the blood vessel. Also known as an endograph.

 

Thrombolysis

Dissolves blood clots by injecting clot-busting drugs at the site of the clot. Treats blood clots in the brain to reverse the effects of stroke; treats deep vein thrombosis in the leg to prevent permanent disability.

 

TIPS (Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt)

A life-saving procedure to improve blood flow and prevent hemorrhage in patients with severe liver dysfunction.

 

Urinary Tract Obstruction

The ureter carries urine from the kidneys to the bladder and sometimes becomes blocked by kidney stones or other obstructions. The interventional radiologist inserts a catheter through a small nick in the skin and into the blocked kidney to drain the urine.

 

Uterine Artery Embolization

An embolization procedure of uterine arteries to stop life-threatening postpartum bleeding, potentially preventing hysterectomy. The same procedure is used to treat fibroid tumors and is then called UFE (Uterine Fibroid Embolization).

 

Uterine Fibroid Embolization

Cuts off the blood supply to the fibroid, causing them to shrink and die, and symptoms to subside (also known as uterine artery embolization).

 

Varicocele Embolization

A treatment for "varicose veins" in the scrotum, which can cause male infertility and pain.

 

Varicose Vein Treatment

The saphenous vein is sealed shut through the use of a laser or radio frequency non-surgically.

 

Vena Cava Filter

A tiny cage-like device that is inserted in a blood vessel to break up clots and prevent them from reaching the heart or lungs. Prevents pulmonary embolism.

 

Vertebroplasty

A pain treatment for fractured vertebra in which medical-grade bone cement is injected into the vertebra.