Women's Health

Minimally Invasive Treatments for Women Provided by Interventional Radiologists

As vascular experts, interventional radiologists help women avoid needless suffering by providing minimally invasive treatment options. For many years, surgery was the only treatment available for many conditions. Today, interventional radiology treatments are first-line care.

Interventional radiologists often treat women for many misdiagnosed or under-treated conditions, such as chronic pelvic pain, continued deep vein thrombosis, and cardiovascular disease-the #1 killer of women-because they have a unique breadth of training across every specialty area.

Cancer

Interventional radiologists offer new treatment options to patients who are not good surgical candidates. Treatments include radiofrequency ablation (RFA) which kills the tumor inside the body with heat and cryoablation which destroys cancer cells with an “ice ball.” Additionally, physicians can inject high concentrations of chemotherapy into a tumor and then block its blood supply to starve it, known as chemoembolization. Learn more about what is offered to treat the following cancers: bone, breast, kidney, liver, lung.

RFA kills tumor with heat
RFA kills tumors with heat

Deep Vein Thrombosis

The formation of a blood clot, known as a thrombus, in a deep leg vein can be a very serious condition that can cause permanent damage to the leg, known as post-thrombotic syndrome. Early treatment with blood thinners is important to prevent a life-threatening pulmonary embolism, but it does not dissolve the existing clot. Women need to be aware that hormone replacement therapy, oral contraceptives, and pregnancy are risk factors for DVT. Learn more about this disease, including how to diagnose and treat, in the deep vein thrombosis patient section.

Osteoporosis

Vertebroplasty is a pain treatment for vertebral compression fractures that fail to respond to conventional pain therapy. Vertebroplasty, a nonsurgical treatment performed by interventional radiologist using imaging for guidance, stabilizes the collapsed vertebra with the injection of medical-grade bone cement into the spine.

Pelvic Pain

It is estimated that one-third of all women will experience chronic pelvic pain in their lifetimes. Many of these women are told the problem "is all in their head," but recent advancements now show the pain may sometimes be due to hard-to-detect varicose veins in the pelvic area, known as pelvic congestion syndrome. The minimally invasive outpatient procedure seals the faulty vein using embolization. More information on this outpatient procedure can be found in the expanded pelvic pain section.

Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are very common noncancerous (benign) growths that develop in the muscular wall of the uterus. Although hysterectomy, performed by a gynecologist, is the most common treatment for symptomatic uterine fibroids, most women are candidates for the uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), a widely available nonsurgical option. UFE, also known as uterine artery embolization, blocks the blood flow to the fibroid tumor, killing it and causing symptoms to subside. Visit our patient section to find out more about UFE.

Interventional radiologist treats uterine fibroids nonsurgically with UFE
Interventional radiologist treats uterine fibroids nonsurgically with UFE

Varicose Veins

Venous insufficiency is an abnormal circulatory condition in which the valves in the vein that pump the blood back up to the heart become weak and don’t close properly, thus allowing blood to flow backwards down the leg (called reflux). Varicose veins are prominent veins that have lost their valve effectiveness and, as a result of dilation under pressure, become elongated, rope-like, bulged and thickened. Interventional radiologists treat varicose veins nonsurgically using vein ablation – they seal the faulty vein closed using heat. Visit the section on varicose veins to learn more.

photo of  leg with varicose veins before treatment photo of leg after varicose vein treatment
Before and after images of nonsurgical varicose vein treatment

Women & Vascular Disease

Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the United States. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) – clogged or narrowed arteries in the legs – is a red flag that the same process may be going on elsewhere because atherosclerosis is a systemic disease and associated with other life-threatening diseases. Through early detection, the progression of vascular disease can be halted, saving women from future stroke, heart attack, and early death if PAD is detected early. A simple ABI test compares the blood pressure in your arm with the blood pressure in your ankle and indicates if you have PAD. Find out if you are at risk for PAD in the peripheral arterial disease section.