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Interventional Radiology

Interventional Radiology

Interventional radiologists at USA Health in Mobile, Alabama, use image-guided procedures to help diagnose and treat patients in a minimally invasive manners.

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Interventional Radiology at USA Health

Radiology helps physicians see what’s happening inside a patient’s body. Interventional radiology is a sub-specialty of this field that goes beyond merely capturing images to actually treating patients by using some of the same advanced imaging technology.

With fluoroscopy, CT scanning, CT fluoroscopy, and ultrasound, our team provides minimally invasive therapies to patients facing many different diagnoses. Most of these procedures are "same day" procedures, and patients are able to go home the same day or the following morning. With these less invasive procedures, patients face fewer risks and shorter hospital stays compared with traditional surgery.

Conditions Commonly Treated With Interventional Radiology

USA Health interventional radiologists successfully treat patients with some of the following conditions:

Arterial & Veinous Disease

Our interventional radiologist specialists perform procedures in the arteries and veins in the legs or pelvis to help restore blood flow for patients suffering from peripheral arterial disease. These can include stretching vessels (balloon angioplasty) that are narrowed and opening vessels which have become completely blocked. We may also place stents during the procedure to help keep the vessels open.

We also treat vascular malformation, which is an abnormal development in the blood vessels, veins and/or arteries; post-thrombotic syndrome, a form of chronic venous insufficiency as a result of deep vein thrombosis; and varicose veins, when a person’s veins are not working properly.

Interventional radiologists also perform IVC filter placements and retrievals. In this procedure, a filter is placed in a large vein in the abdomen to trap blood clots from the legs and pelvis before they reach the heart and lungs. Once the filter is no longer necessary or they are causing problems, they can typically be removed.

Kidney Disease

Interventional radiologists at USA Health use ultrasound and fluoroscopic guidance to easily place all types of catheters including those used for dialysis. Other minimally invasive therapies that we perform include the maintenance of arteriovenous grafts (AV grafts) and fistulas (AV fistulas). We also have state-of-the-art equipment to create AV fistulas with smaller incisions, less pain, and higher success rates than traditional surgical methods.

Renal angiomyelolipomas (AMLs) are benign tumors of the kidney. Once they grow beyond a certain size, the risk of bleeding increases. Interventional radiologists can block the arteries supplying the AMLs to halt their growth and decrease the risk of bleeding. This is done via minimally invasive techniques known as arterial embolization.

Interventional radiologists are also important to dialysis access management. If dialysis access points in the body – AV grafts or AV fistulas – are not functioning well, interventional radiologists can perform a fistulogram to identify where the issue is and use balloon angioplasty and stents to fix the problem. Dialysis declots can also be performed if an access point is entirely clotted.

Liver Disease

Some liver diseases cause fluid retention in the abdomen or bleeding from the mouth or with bowel movements. In such cases, our interventional radiologists create a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) to allow the blood to be rechanneled. In cases of repeated bleeding, we can also block the flow of blood into the offending veins to decrease the risk of future episodes.

Patients who have fluid accumulation can undergo drainage procedures such as paracentesis (drainage from the abdomen) or thoracentesis (drainage from the chest). For patients who are not candidates for a TIPS procedure but have continue to accumulate fluid, semi-permanent drains can be placed that allow for drainage at home.

Interventional radiologists also perform balloon occlusion retrograde transvenous obliteration (BRTO) to treat gastric varices for those with liver disease. The varices are located in the stomach and can cause life-threatening bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Gastric varices are commonly found in patients with elevated pressure in the portal vein system, often a complication of cirrhosis.

Cancer

With CT- and ultrasound-guided biopsies, our interventional radiologists can biopsy tissue to determine if it is malignant. When cancer is discovered, our team can use various techniques, such as embolization and ablation, to destroy tumors. Interventional radiologists can perform transarterial chemoembolization to provide a local delivery of chemotherapy and y-90 embolization to provide targeted radiation therapy for cancers in the liver. These alternatives to traditional surgery require almost no cutting, which means minimal pain and faster recovery for the patient.

Interventional radiologists also provide minimally-invasive treatments for tumors in the liver, kidneys, lungs and bone by using microwave ablation, cryoablation, and radiofrequency ablation. Microwave and radiofrequency ablation use heat to destroy cancer cells and close small blood vessels to lessen bleeding risk. Cryoablation uses extreme cold to destroy diseased tissue.

Pain Management

Our interventional radiologists work with back specialists to provide pain management therapies, such as facet blocks and sacroiliac joint injections, to patients with severe and chronic back pain. Spinal augmentation procedures, such as vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are also offered where medical cement is injected into the bone to strengthen it. When the pain is due to an underlying cancer in the spine, we perform ablations to kill the tumor which helps treat the pain and control the cancer.

Other pain management treatments provided by interventional radiologists include epidurals, intercostal blocks for chest pain, and celiac blocks for abdominal pain.

Men’s Health

Interventional radiologists offer patients a treatment called prostate artery embolization. This is a minimally invasive procedure that helps improve urinary tract symptoms caused by a Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) – a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate. This procedure does not produce any sexual side effects.

These physicians also provide varicocele embolization for patients suffering from an enlarged vein in the scrotum, known as a varicocele. The treatment can help preserve and improve fertility that is hindered by the condition.

Women’s Health

USA Health interventional radiologists offer patients a treatment called uterine artery embolization (UAE). This minimally invasive procedure is an alternative to surgical hysterectomy for the treatment of fibroids and adenomyosis. The blood vessels supplying the uterus are partially blocked which relieves the symptoms. This is an outpatient procedure with faster recovery times compared with surgery.

Interventional radiologists also treat pelvic congestion, a condition where enlarged veins in the pelvic area cause chronic pelvic pain.

Bile Duct and Gallbladder Issues

When drainage is needed in organs, such as the bile ducts and gallbladder, but a patient may not be a candidate for surgery, our team can use minimally invasive methods to place a plastic drain to help alleviate the blockage. These are commonly referred to as biliary drains, or stents, and cholecystostomy tubes.

Infections

In cases where patients have infections (abscesses), our team can place tubes for drainage.

Stomach Issues

When patients require long-term feeding, we can place feeding tubes directly into their stomach and small bowel.

Minimally Invasive Interventional Radiology Procedures

The interventional radiologists at USA Health have extensive experience treating patients and performing minimally invasive procedures across multiple specialties.

Minimally invasive procedures are as effective as surgery with less risk, less pain, and faster recovery. They are typically outpatient procedures.

    Uterine Fibroids

    By blocking the blood vessels supplying the fibroids using special tiny catheters, the fibroids gradually shrink and symptoms, such as heavy menstrual bleeding, stop.

    Scrotal Varicoceles

    Swollen veins in the scrotum can cause pain and reduce male fertility. Blocking these veins using microcatheters is an effective alternative to surgery and allows returning to work the following day.

    Venous Insufficiency

    Veins that don’t work properly can lead to symptoms in the legs like swelling, fatigue, heaviness, varicose veins and spider veins. Procedures, such as injections and ablations, can help close these abnormal veins and decrease symptoms.

    Peripheral Vascular Disease

    Poor circulation in the legs and feet, such as in smokers and diabetics, can lead to pain with walking and skin ulcers, sometimes requiring amputation. Angioplasty and stent placement are procedures performed by interventional radiologists to restore blood flow to the feet to relieve pain and promote tissue healing.

    Benign Prostate Hypertrophy

    Men with an enlarged prostate may suffer from bothersome urinary symptoms such as difficult and frequent urination. By using specially designed microcatheters, the blood vessels supplying the prostate are blocked. The prostate shrinks and symptoms improve. The procedure is as effective as surgical intervention with faster recovery and minimal risk of urinary incontinence or sexual dysfunction.

    Interventional Radiologists

    These are the physicians who make up our interventional radiology team at USA Health.

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