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Interventional Radiology

What is Interventional Radiology?

Interventional radiologists diagnose and treat diseases in the body by inserting various small tools, such as catheters or wires from outside the body. X-ray and imaging techniques such as CT and ultrasound help guide the radiologist. Interventional radiology (IR) can be used instead of surgery for many conditions. In some cases, it can eliminate the need for hospitalization.

Procedures Performed by Interventional Radiologists

  • Angiography: This is a dynamic type of X-ray of the arteries and veins to find blockage or narrowing of the vessels, as well as other problems.
  • Angioplasty: The doctor puts a small balloon-tipped catheter into a blood vessel. Then the doctor inflates the balloon to open an area of blockage inside the vessel.
  • Embolization: The doctor puts a substance through a catheter into a blood vessel to stop blood flow through that vessel. This can be done to control bleeding.
  • Intravascular Ultrasound: The doctor uses ultrasound to see inside a blood vessel to find problems.
  • Stent Placement: The doctor places a tiny mesh coil (stent) inside a blood vessel at the site of the blockage. He/She expands the stent to open up the blockage.
  • Dialysis Access: Patients requiring dialysis may need catheters that can be placed in IR. If dialysis patients have grafts with abnormal flow, this can be evaluated and treated in IR.
  • Vascular Disease: IR may be consulted to stop emergent bleeding, open blood vessels that are blocked, or deliver medicine to dissolve blood clots.
  • Spine Fractures: Kyphoplasty is a procedure for patients experiencing pain from the spine.
  • Infections: Infected fluid collections are drained in IR using small needles and tubes.
  • Paracentesis and Thoracentesis: Patients may have fluid in the abdomen that makes them feel uncomfortably full or fluid around their lungs causing breathing discomfort. IR provides relief in these scenarios.
  • Foreign Body Removal: The doctor puts a catheter into a blood vessel to remove a foreign body in the vessel.
  • Kidney and Bladder Diseases: Calcified stones can prevent kidneys from draining urine normally and this can be painful and cause infections. IR places tubes for urine to drain from the kidney and bladder. Biopsies of the kidneys are also available.
  • Liver and Gallbladder Diseases: Calcified stones may block the gallbladder from draining bile. If patients become too sick to undergo surgery, IR can place drains into the gallbladder and liver. TIPS procedures may also help patients who have advanced liver disease.
  • Needle Biopsy: The doctor puts a small needle into almost any part of the body, guided by imaging techniques, to take a tissue biopsy.
  • IVC Filters: The doctor puts a small filter into the inferior vena cava (IVC). This is a large vein in your abdomen. The filter catches blood clots that may go into your lungs.
  • Injection of Clot-dissolving Medicines: The doctor injects clot-dissolving medicines such as tissue plasminogen activator. This medicine dissolves blood clots and increases blood flow to your arms, legs or organs in your body.
  • Catheters Insertions: The doctor puts a catheter into a large vein to give chemotherapy medicines, nutrition, or hemodialysis. He/She may also put in a catheter before a bone-marrow transplant.
  • Cancer Treatment: The doctor can provide services that include biopsies for diagnosing cancers and also perform procedures to treat cancer.
    • Chemoembolization is a palliative treatment for liver cancer during which microscopic beads infused with a chemo drug are injected directly into the artery that supplies blood to the tumor in the liver. The artery is then blocked off (embolized).
    • Cryoablation is a minimally invasive interventional radiology procedure that uses extreme cold to freeze and kill abnormal cancerous and precancerous cells.

Patient Prep

The interventional radiologists will meet with the patient prior to performing any procedures in order to provide information and answer any questions about the treatment plan. Depending on the type of procedure, this process may take place at an office visit prior to scheduling the procedure or at the hospital on the day of the procedure.

  • Pre-Op: The day of the procedure, patients are asked to arrive and register at the hospital between 30 minutes to 2 hours before their scheduled appointment depending on type of procedure. This gives our hospital staff time to prepare the patient for the procedure and answer any additional questions.
  • Procedure: Most interventional radiology procedures are completed within 30-60 minutes. However, patients may spend one to two hours in the lab as nursing and radiology staff prepare them for the procedure. During procedures, hospital staff does their best to ensure patients feel relaxed and comfortable.
  • Post-Op: After the procedure, patients will be escorted to ambulatory care for recovery. Patients who were sedated may spend more time in recovery before they are discharged to ensure their safety. Depending on the type of procedure some patients will be admitted for overnight observation at the discretion of the interventional radiologist. A nurse will discuss expectations for recovery during this period with patients and family members.

How Are Results Provided?

Results are provided to your doctor typically within 48 hours of your visit. Studies are read by a board-certified radiologist with North Oaks Imaging Associates. Your results are available to your doctor in a CD format upon request.

Where are Interventional Radiology Procedures Performed?

See below for a list of North Oaks locations that perform Interventional Radiology procedures.

Call us today at (985) 230-7777 to schedule an appointment!

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