What is Interventional Radiology?
Copyright © 2008, Joel Garris MD, FACR. All rights reserved. Whittier, California 90602
Interventional radiologists are physicians who perform image-guided, minimally invasive procedures to treat a variety of diseases. These procedures are done using miniaturized instruments performed through a small skin nick the size of a pencil tip. Local anesthesia and sedation are used rather than general anesthesia. There are typically no stitches and once the procedure is completed, the skin nick is simply covered by a Band-Aid.
Interventional radiology procedures accomplish surgical objectives but being minimally invasive are therefore associated with less pain, less complications and faster recovery vs. conventional surgery.
Interventional radiology has replaced conventional surgery for many conditions and illnesses and treats diseases there were previously untreatable.
Interventional radiologists are certified by the American Board of Radiology (ABR) in both Diagnostic Radiology separately in Interventional Radiology. The latter requires a one year fellowship following the diagnostic radiology residency.
Interventional radiologists become experts in using x-rays (fluoroscopy), ultrasound, CT and MRI to guide their procedures.
Below are few examples of procedures performed and conditions treated by interventional radiologists.
- Angioplasty and Arterial Stenting
Open block blood vessels in peripheral vascular disease (PAD) Open arteries in legs, kidneys, aorta, arms, etc.
- Biliary Interventions to treat:
Bile duct blockage Gallstones Pancreas cancer
- Catheter Embolization to treat:
Bleeding Uterine fibroids Varicocele (#1 cause of male infertility) Pelvic congestion syndrome in women
- Catheter-directed Thrombolysis
Dissolve blood clots in arteries and veins Stop a stroke in progress Detect and insert coils to clot Intracranial aneurysms Arterial Vascular Malformations (AVMs) Liver cancer Biopsies Catheters for malignant effusions Open or repair dialysis fistula or graft Chronic pain including: Low back and neck pain Sciatica Spine Fractures Cancer Pain Nerve pain Complex Regional Pain Syndrome I & II Facial Pain Headache Feeding tubes in stomach Feeding tube in small instesting
- Fallopian Tube Recanalization
- Inferior Vena Cava Filter Placement and Removal
Stop blood clots from going to heart and lungs
- Image Guided Needle Biopsy
Lung, liver, kidney, spine, bone, pancreas, thyroid, breast, muscle, etc.
- Percutaneous Abscess Drainage
Chest, abdominal organs, post surgery Cancer chemotherapy Pain management Cancer of kidney, lung, liver, bone Varicose Veins
- Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty
Painful spine fractures
Minimally Invasive Alternatives to Surgery