• Interventional Radiology Procedures

  • The highly trained and respected interventional radiologists at Littleton Adventist Hospital offer a broad spectrum of interventional radiology procedures and treatments. Utilizing the latest advances in medical technology, they are able to perform minimally invasive procedures that provide our patients with faster recoveries than traditional surgery.

    Here is a brief overview of the most common interventional radiology procedures.

    Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Stent - Aneurysms are created when the wall of a blood vessel has weakened, filled with blood, and bulges out. Aneurysms most commonly occur in the abdomen or chest areas. An interventional radiologist, working with a vascular surgeon, can place a stent into the aneurysm, cutting it off from the blood circulation.

    Angiography - An x-ray of the arteries and veins to locate and diagnose blockages and other blood vessel problems. The interventional radiologist may also use a catheter to enter the blood vessel and a contrast agent, or x-ray dye, to make the artery or vein visible on the x-ray.

    Angioplasty - Opening blocked or narrowed blood vessels by inserting a very small balloon into the vessel and inflating it. This procedure allows the interventional radiologist to unblock clogged arteries in the legs or arms (referred to as peripheral arterial disease or PAD), kidneys, brain or other parts of the body.

    Biliary Drainage - Biliary drainage is a minimally invasive procedure in which backed up bile, a liquid released by the liver to aid in digestion, is drained from the liver through a catheter.

    Blood Clot Embolization - Embolization can be used to dissolve or eradicate blood clots in the legs. When patients have recurrent blood clots, pieces (emboli) may float through the heart and lodge in the lungs. This potentially serious problem can be treated by placing a filter into the large vein that carries blood directly to the heart.

    Catheter Insertions - A catheter, or small tube, is inserted into large veins for giving chemotherapy drugs, nutritional support, and hemodialysis. A catheter may also be inserted prior to bone-marrow transplantation.

    Chemoembolization - Cancer of the colon or other gastrointestinal tract tumors may "seed" the liver with tumor cells. Surgery may not be a good option for removing these cancer cells because they are distributed through the liver. Interventional radiologists perform chemoembolization by injecting an anticancer drug into the blood vessel that is feeding the tumor. This concentrates the chemotherapy near the tumor and spares other organs.

    Deep Vein Thrombosis - This procedure is designed to rapidly break up a clot in the leg, restore blood flow within the vein and potentially preserve valve function to minimize the risk of post-thrombotic syndrome.

    Intravascular Ultrasound - The use of ultrasound inside a blood vessel to better visualize the interior of the vessel in order to detect problems inside the blood vessel.

    Needle Biopsy - A small needle is inserted into the abdominal area in almost any part of the body, guided by imaging techniques, to obtain a tissue biopsy. This type of biopsy can provide a diagnosis without surgical intervention.

    Nephrostomy Drainage - Used to drain urine from the kidneys in the advent of blockage.

    Percutaneous Cryoablation - Use of extreme cold to destroy tumors.

    Port Placement - Ports provide access to the central vein system. They are placed in patients to more easily administer fluids and medications. One common use is to administer chemotherapy to cancer patients to avoid irritating the veins and also to make it more comfortable to patients who avoid multiple needle insertions.

    Radiofrequency Ablation - One of several types of ablation therapy, this technique uses high-frequency electrical energy to eliminate cancer tumors, painful varicose veins or other conditions.

    Sialogram - Used to obtain an x-ray image of the salivary ducts and related glandular structures.

    SIR Spheres® - Radioactive spheres are inserted into the hepatic artery that feeds the tumor.

    Stent Placement - Stent grafting places a tube, called a stent, into large blood vessels, when an aneurysm (a weakness in the vessel wall) is at risk of rupturing and causing fatal bleeding. The stent graft procedure offers a highly successful alternative to surgery and minimizes the risk of aneurysm rupture.

    Uterine Fibroid Embolization - The interventional radiologist blocks both uterine arteries, carrying the blood to the fibroids, by a targeted injection of fine particles. This results in shrinkage of the fibroids and disappearance of symptoms such as bleeding and pelvic pressure. For many women, this procedure may replace a hysterectomy.

    Varicocele Embolization - Varicose veins in the testicles and scrotum are traditionally treated with surgical ligation. This interventional radiology procedure is a nonsurgical procedure that blocks, or embolizes, the blood flow into the vein that is causing problems. This procedure has less risk, less pain and less recovery time than traditional surgery.

    Yttrium 90 Microsphere Embolization - This procedure is a specialized therapy for liver cancer patients. The radioactive isotope Y-90 is combined into microscopic spheres that deliver radiation directly to the tumor, allowing for higher doses of radiation without hurting healthy tissue. An interventional radiologist injects these microspheres through a catheter into the artery supplying blood to the tumor. The beads become lodged within the tumor vessels where they exert their local radiation to cause tumor cell death.

    You can also learn more about interventional radiology at The Society for Interventional Radiology .

    Jump to Conditions treated through Interventional Radiology

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