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Interventional Radiology

Interventional radiology is a specialized branch of radiology.  It uses sophisticated technology to create detailed images of internal organs and structures.  The images are used to guide minimally invasive procedures that are used for diagnostic or treatment purposes.  There are many conditions that can be treated with interventional radiology rather than open surgery.  There are many types of imaging techniques that can be used, including X-ray, fluoroscopy, computed tomography (CT), ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  Interventional radiology is associated with less risk, less pain, and a shorter recovery time than traditional open surgeries. 

Common interventional radiology procedures include:

Angiography
Angiography uses X-ray imaging, an imaging enhancement dye (contrast dye) and a narrow tube (catheter) that is inserted into the blood vessels to check for blockages.
 
Balloon Angioplasty
Balloon Angioplasty uses imaging and a small balloon device that is inserted into blocked or narrowed blood vessels.  The device is inflated to widen the vessel.  It is used to treat arteriovenous malformations (AVM), high blood pressure, peripheral arterial disease (PAD), and blood vessels in the brain or kidney.
 
Bilary Drainage and Stenting
Bilary Drainage and Stenting uses imaging to guide the placement of a small mesh tube (stent).  The stent opens blocked bile ducts, allowing bile to flow.
 
Biopsy
Image guided biopsy methods allow doctors to insert a needle into a specific area to withdraw fluid or cells for examination. 
 
Central Venous Access
Central Venous Access uses imaging to guide the placement of a small tube beneath the skin and into a blood vessel.  The tube is used to directly deliver medication or nutrients to a patient.
 
Chemoembolization
Chemoembolization is used to deliver cancer-fighting drugs directly to the location of liver or endocrine cancer.
 
Embolization
Embolization is an image-guided procedure that is used to place blood-clotting agents to block blood flow.  Coils, plastic particles, gel, or foam may be placed to stop bleeding, such as with an aneurysm or uterine fibroid tumor.
 
Gastrostomy Tube Placement
A gastrostomy tube delivers nutrients directly to the stomach for people that are unable to swallow food safely or eat enough food using their mouth.
 
 
Hemodialysis Access Maintenance
Hemodialysis Access Maintenance uses a catheter or clot-busting drugs to open blocked grafts for hemodialysis.  Hemodialysis is a treatment for kidney failure.
 
Infection and Abscess Drainage
Image guided catheter placement is used to access and drain a site of infection.  It is commonly used to treat abscesses and infections associated with open surgery.
 
Radiofrequency Ablation
Radiofrequency Ablation uses imagery to target cancer cells and high-energy radiation beams to destroy cancer cells.
 
Stents
Stents are small plastic or wire mesh tubes that are placed in a blood vessel or other pathway to widen it and allow the flow of blood or fluids.
 
Stent-Graft
A Stent-Graft (endograft) is used to patch an aneurysm.  An aneurysm is a weakened and ballooning section of an artery. 
 
Thrombolysis
Thrombolysis uses imaging to guide the placement of clot-busting medications.  It is frequently used to treat strokes and blood clots in the leg.
 
Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt (TIPS)
This procedure is used to place a shunt in the liver to alter blood flow and prevent bleeding.  It can be a life saving procedure for people with severe liver disorders.
 
Urinary Tract Obstruction- Catherization
Catherization is used to drain urine from the kidney in cases where urine flow is blocked by an obstruction, such as a kidney stone.
 
Uterine Artery Embolization
Uterine Artery Embolization is a procedure that is used to stop bleeding following childbirth or bleeding that is associated with uterine fibroids.
 
Varicocele Embolization
Varicocele Embolization is a treatment used for painful varicose veins in the scrotum.
 
Varicose Vein Treatment
A laser or radiofrequency treatment is used to seal and shut the saphenous vein, a long vein in the leg and thigh.
 
Vena Cava Filter
A Vena Cava Filter is a small cage-like device that is inserted into the vena cava, a large blood vessel, to prevent blood clots from traveling to the heart and lungs. 
 
Vertebroplasty
Vertebroplasty is an image-guided procedure for fractured vertebrae in which bone cement is injected into the affected area.
 

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.