Interventional radiology is the practice of performing minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat diseases and disorders. We provide a number of these services, which can sometimes help patients avoid more complicated surgical interventions. Patients have less pain and shorter recovery periods.
Common Interventional Radiology Procedures
Our interventional radiologists perform such a wide range of procedures, some of which treat blood vessels (vascular procedures), that it is difficult to list them all. Some common interventional radiology procedures are:
- Stereotactic biopsy uses mammography to precisely guide clinicians to a lump or abnormality that can’t be felt or seen on ultrasound. Clinicians see a 3D picture of the lump’s exact location.
- MRI-guided biopsy uses MRI to guide the radiologist to the exact location of the lump. MRI biopsy is usually used when the lump can be seen on breast MRI, but cannot be readily seen on mammogram or ultrasound.
What happens during the procedure?
While the biopsy is performed, you will either remain seated in a comfortable, upright position or you will lie face down on a special table that allows your breast to be placed in an opening. The radiologist performs a core needle or vacuum-assisted biopsy (see below) while your breast is somewhat compressed in the mammographic biopsy system. You can return home in 30 minutes.
- Vacuum-assisted biopsy devices are used for stereotactic and MRI guided biopsy and selected ultrasound guided biopsies. The device is a special probe that applies suction and allows retrieval of more tissue. Breast tissue is drawn into the sampling chamber of the probe with the vacuum and then cut. Several pieces of tissue are always obtained during biopsies, regardless of the type of needle used.
- In a core needle biopsy, the radiologist locates the lump or abnormality that can be seen on a mammogram, sonogram or MRI. A hollow core needle is then placed inside the abnormality. The needle will then withdraw a small amount of tissue that will be sent to a lab for analysis. Prior to the procedure, you will be given some local anesthetic similar to the anesthetic used for dental procedures to numb the area. You may feel some pressure and mild discomfort but most patients do not feel pain. The doctor will insert the needle several times to get adequate tissue samples.
- Kidney dialysis access management – Central venous access is increasingly used in kidney dialysis.
- Mediports (also called port-a-caths) – Devices are usually implanted in the upper chest to act as an I.V. into the bloodstream; they are used to deliver chemotherapy, medications, fluids, or to withdraw blood.
- PICCs (peripherally inserted central catheters) – Catheters inserted into the arm vein are threaded carefully to the superior vena cava, the large vein that connects to the heart. PICCs are used for long-term intravenous antibiotics, chemotherapy, etc. and to prevent repeat needle sticks.
- Nephrostomy – Placement of a tube into the kidney to allow urine to drain directly out of the body.
- Kidney stone treatment – Manipulation and management of kidney stones with minimally invasive techniques.
- Biliary procedures – Viewing and/or treating problems of the bile ducts, liver and gallbladder, including bile stones. These procedures include percutaneous cholangiogram (a contrast x-ray to find obstructions in the bile ducts), biliary stone removal (when they cannot be removed surgically) and biliary stent placement (for temporary relief from bile stone obstructions).