“Interventional Radiology” (IR) refers to a range of techniques which rely on the use radiological image guidance (X-ray fluoroscopy, ultrasound, computed tomography [CT] or magnetic resonance imaging [MRI]) to precisely target therapy. The concept behind interventional radiology is to diagnose and treat patients using the least invasive techniques currently available in order to minimize risk to the patient and improve health outcomes. These procedures have less risk, less pain and less recovery time in comparison to open surgery.
The Interventional Radiology Division offers the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of diseases using minimally invasive techniques. Many conditions that previously required traditional open surgery can now be treated with small catheters or other devices guided by radiologic imaging, allowing for a faster recovery, and a less costly procedure.
Conditions treated include:
- Acute and chronic deep vein thrombosis
- Diseases of the lymphatic system
- Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT)
- Pulmonary arteriovenous malformations
- Cancer (liver, kidney, bone and lung)
- Peripheral arterial disease/critical limb ischemia (CLI)
- Vascular malformations/varicose and spider veins
- Women’s health conditions (eg. uterine fibroids, pelvic congestion syndrome)
- Hemodialysis access dysfunction
What types of procedures are considered interventional?
Angiography is a diagnostic study used to obtain images of blood vessels in various parts of the body including the heart, brain, and kidneys to determine whether the vessels are diseased, narrowed, enlarged or occluded.
Angioplasty is a procedure used to open blocked or narrowed blood vessels by inserting a very small balloon into the vessel and inflating it. This technique is used to unblock clogged arteries in the legs or arms, kidneys, brain or elsewhere in the body.
Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT)
After applying local anesthetic to the vein, the interventional radiologist inserts a thin catheter into the vein and guides it up the great saphenous vein of the thigh. Then the laser energy is applied to the inside of the vein, which heats and seals the vein closed.
A stent is 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).
Embolization is the delivery of clotting agents 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.
Using one of several imaging techniques, a needle is inserted into the abnormal area and a tissue sample is removed to be studied by a pathologist for evaluation.
Thrombolysis is a technique used to dissolve blood clots by injecting a drug directly at the site of the clots. Thrombolytic drugs – sometimes called clot busters dissolve the clot and restore blood flow. Usually, the drugs are administered through a catheter directly into the clot. Thrombolysis is frequently used to treat Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD).
UFE (Uterine Fibroid Embolization)
This procedure is an alternative to hysterectomy and has a very high success rate. The interventional radiologist makes a small nick in the skin in the groin and inserts a catheter into an artery. The catheter is guided through the artery to the uterus while the radiologist guides the progress of the procedure using a moving x-ray (fluoroscopy). The interventional radiologist injects tiny plastic particles the size of grains of sand into the artery that is supplying blood to the fibroid tumor. This cuts off the blood flow and causes the tumor, or tumors, to shrink.
Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure used in the treatment of painful vertebral compression fractures commonly associated with osteoporosis. To stabilize broken bones of the spine, a needle is inserted into the vertebrae and a balloon is inflated attempting to raise the collapsed vertebra and return it to its normal position. Once the vertebra is in the correct position, the balloon is deflated and removed. The space created is then filled with bone cement to stabilize the fracture.