Interventional Radiology (abbreviated IR) is a subspecialty of radiology in which minimally invasive procedures are performed using image guidance. Some of these procedures are done for purely diagnostic purposes (e.g., angiogram), while others are done for treatment purposes (e.g., angioplasty). Pictures (images) are used to direct these procedures, which are usually done with needles or other tiny instruments like small tubes called catheters. The images provide road maps that allow the Interventional Radiologist to guide these instruments through the body to the areas of interest.
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IR procedures performed at Roxborough Memorial Hospital are as follows:
- Angiography: imaging the blood vessels to look for abnormalities with the use of various contrast media, including iodinated contrast.
- Balloon angioplasty/Balloon angioplasty/stent: opening of narrow or blocked blood vessels using a balloon; may include placement of metallic stents as well (both self-expanding and balloon expandable).
- Chemoembolization: delivering cancer treatment directly to a tumor through its blood supply, then using clot-inducing substances to block the artery, ensuring that the delivered chemotherapy is not “washed out” by continued blood flow.
- Cholecystostomy: placement of a tube into the gallbladder to remove infected bile in patients with cholecystitis, an inflammation of the gallbladder, who are too frail or too sick to undergo surgery
- Drain insertions: placement of tubes into different parts of the body to drain fluids (e.g., abscess drains to remove pus, pleural drains)
- Embolization: blocking abnormal blood (artery) vessels (e.g., for the purpose of stopping bleeding) or organs (to stop the extra function e.g. embolization of the spleen for hypersplenism) including uterine artery embolization for percutaneous treatment of uterine fibroids. Various embolic agents are used, including alcohol, glue, metallic coils, poly-viny alcohol particles, Embospheres, encapsulated chemo-microsphere, and gelfoam.
- Thrombolysis: treatment aimed at dissolving blood clots (e.g., pulmonary emboli, leg vein thrombi, thrombosed hemodialysis accesses) with both pharmaceutical (TPA) and mechanical means.
- Biopsy: taking of a tissue sample from the area of interest for pathological examination from a percutaneous or transjugular approach.
- Line insertion: Vascular access and management of specialized kinds of intravenous devices (IVs) (e.g. PICC lines, Hickman lines, subcutaneous ports including translumbar and transhepatic venous lines)
- IVC filters: – metallic filters placed in the inferior vena cavae to prevent propagation of deep venous thrombus, both temporary and permanent.
- Vertebroplasty: percutaneous injection of biocompatible bone cement inside fractured vertebrae.
- Nephrostomy placement: Placing a catheter directly into the kidney to drain urine in situations where normal flow of urine is obstructed. NUS catheters are nephroureteral stents which are placed through the ureter and into the bladder.
- Radiologically Inserted Gastrostomy or RIG: Placement of a feeding tube percutaneously into the stomach and/or jejunum.
- Dialysis access and related intervention: Placement of tunneled hemodialysis catheters, peritoneal dialysis catheters, and revision/thrombolysis of poorly functioning surgically placed AV fistulas and grafts.
- Biliary intervention – Placement of catheters in the biliary system to bypass biliary obstructions and decompress the biliary system. Also placement of permanent indwelling biliary stents.