Interventional radiology (IR) is an increasingly popular medical specialty in which radiologists specially trained in interventional procedures use their expertise in reading X-rays, computed tomography (CT), ultrasound and other medical imaging technologies to treat patients. They do this by guiding small instruments through blood vessels or other pathways to treat disease percutaneously, or through tiny “poke holes” in the skin. The targeted treatments often replace surgical incisions, offering patients less pain, less risk and faster recovery. Many procedures are either outpatient or patients are discharged within 24 hours.
Holland Hospital’s IR program offers state-of-the-art imaging technology and the expertise of 11 board-certified IR physicians and 10 credentialed physician assistants specializing in interventional radiology. Since the program’s launch in 2009, thousands of patients have undergone minimally invasive IR procedures such as those listed below.
Interventional Radiology Procedures
Abscess drains – Inserting drainage tubes that allow healing from pockets of infection.
Embolization – Delivery of clotting agents (coils, plastic particles, gelfoam, etc.) to stop blood flow to a problem area, such as a leaking vessel, an aneurysm (bulge in an artery that could rupture) or tumor.
Feeding tube placement – Inserting a small tube directly into the stomach through the abdomen for patients unable to swallow or take food or fluids by mouth.
Hip injections – Injections into hip joints using fluoroscopy to pinpoint sites for relieving arthritic and other painful disease processes.
Needle biopsy – Diagnostic procedure for taking tissue samples such as thyroid, liver, lung and bone; an alternative to surgical biopsy.
Paracentesis – Draining of abdominal fluid to aid in comfort and breathing.
Stent insertion – Inserting a small, flexible tube made of wire mesh to hold open a clogged blood vessel or other pathways that have been narrowed or blocked by tumors or obstructions.
Thrombolysis – Dissolving blood clots by injecting clot-busting drugs directly at the site.
TIPS (transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt) – A life-saving procedure in which the IR physician creates a new pathway through the liver and inserts stents to reroute critical blood flow and prevent hemorrhage in patients with liver disease.
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) – Coils are injected through a thin catheter into specific uterine arteries to shrink painful, enlarged fibroid tumors by essentially “starving” them of their blood supply. UFE can offer an alternative to hysterectomy.
Vena cava filter – A removable, umbrella-shaped device inserted through a catheter into a major vein to catch a blood clot, preventing it from traveling to the heart and other organs.
Vertebroplasty – Repairs compression fractures of the spine (often due to osteoporosis) by injecting orthopaedic cement directly into the damaged vertebra, thereby relieving pain and restoring function almost immediately.