Interventional radiology is the use of ultrasound or x-ray technology to perform minimally invasive procedures. One of the major benefits of interventional radiology is faster recovery time. Many patients elect to have an interventional procedure performed, such as angiography and needle biopsy since they can be performed on an outpatient basis, and there is no need to stay overnight in the hospital.
At Southeastern Med in Guernsey County, we perform several procedures using interventional imaging but not limited to angiography, needle biopsy and blood clot treatment.
For a complete list of procedures please contact our radiology nurse at 740.439.8036.
Angiography or an angiogram is an imaging test that uses x-rays to view your body’s blood vessels. Physicians often use this test to study narrow, blocked, enlarged, or malformed arteries or veins in many parts of your body, when the arteries are studied, the test is also called an arteriogram.
To create the x-ray images, your physician will inject a liquid, sometimes called "dye", through a thin, flexible tube, called a catheter. He or she threads the catheter into the desired artery or vein from an access point. The access point is usually in your groin, but it can also be in your arm or, less commonly, a blood vessel in another location. This "dye, " properly called contrast, makes the blood flowing inside the blood vessels visible on an x-ray. The contrast is later eliminated from your body through your kidneys and your urine. Your physician may recommend an angiogram to diagnose a variety of vascular conditions, including:
- Blockages of the arteries outside of your heart, called peripheral artery disease (PAD)
- Enlargements of the arteries, called aneurysms
- Kidney artery conditions
- Problems in the arteries that branch off the aorta, called aortic arch conditions
- Malformed arteries, called vascular malformations
- Problems with your veins, such as deep venous thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots in the lungs called pulmonary emboli
Sometimes physicians can also treat a problem during an angiogram. For instance, your physician may be able to dissolve a clot that he or she discovers during the test. A physician may also perform an angioplasty and stenting procedure to clear blocked arteries during an angiogram, depending on the location and extent of the blockage.
If a narrowing or a blockage is present, your physician can insert a thin catheter with a small balloon on the end and use the x-ray to guide them to the trouble spot. A small balloon will gently inflate to open the vessel. This procedure is called a balloon angioplasty. In some cases, we may need to insert a stent to hold the vessel open. This is called vascular stent placement. An angiogram procedure can also help your physician plan operations to repair the arteries for more extensive problems.
Your doctor may suggest a needle biopsy to help diagnose a condition or to rule out a disease or condition. A needle biopsy may also be used to assess the progress of a treatment. The sample from your needle biopsy may help your doctor determine what is causing:
- A mass or lump. A needle biopsy may reveal whether a mass or lump is a cyst, an infection, a benign tumor or cancer.
- An infection. Analysis from a needle biopsy can help doctors determine what germs are causing an infection so that the most effective medications can be used.
- Inflammation. A needle biopsy sample may reveal what's causing inflammation and what types of cells are involved.
You may also undergo imaging tests, such as a computerized tomography (CT) scan or an ultrasound, before your needle biopsy. Sometimes these tests are also used during the needle biopsy procedure to more accurately locate the area to be biopsied.
Blood Clot Treatment
When an artery is blocked by a blood clot, interventional radiologists sometimes use clot-dissolving medication to eliminate the clot and restore blood flow. They inject these drugs through catheters advanced to the site of the clot. This can be a much more effective approach than administering drugs intravenously, because the thrombolytic drugs arrive directly to the clot location and, in a higher concentration in the location where they are needed.
Interventional radiologists can also place small filters in blood vessels to intercept and catch blood clots. The most common application of this filter-placement technique is to capture blood clots traveling from the large vessels of the leg (as a result of deep vein thrombosis or DVT), although such clots can also arise in other areas of the body.