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Interventional Radiology

What is interventional radiology?

Lee Health’s Interventional Radiology (IR) unit specializes in minimally invasive image-guided diagnosis and treatment of disease. IR makes it easier than ever before to target a wide variety of conditions in almost any part of the body.

Interventional radiology serves as an alternative to many traditional surgeries because it is safer, cost effective, and can drastically decrease patients’ recovery time.

Our trained staff treats both adults and children so they can quickly feel better and get back to their daily lives.

Interventional radiology procedures

  • Arterial and venous embolizations
  • Biliary drainage, intervention and stent placement
  • Peritoneal and Pleural PleurX catheter placement
  • Cholecystostomy tube placement
  • Dialysis catheter insertion
  • Arteriograms of A/V fistulas w/intervention (i.e. angioplasty/stent)
  • Gastrostomy tube placement
  • IVC filter placement and removals
  • Kyphoplasty
  • Jejunostomy tube replacement or exchange
  • Nephrostomy tube placement and removals
  • Ureteral stent placement
  • Mediport catheter insertion and removals
  • T.I.P.S. (Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt)
  • PICC line placement
  • Tunneled power line insertion
  • Yttrium 90 and TACE (Trans Arterial Chemo Embolization) procedures
  • Diagnostic and interventional Angiograms (i.e. angioplasty/stent)
  • Venograms
  • Prostate embolizations
  • Uterine artery embolization (UAEs)

Angiogram/Endovascular

An angiogram, which is a type of X-ray, uses a camera and dye to examine blood flow in veins, arteries, and organs. Endovascular procedures refer to a type of surgery that can repair problems that affect blood vessels, such as aneurysms.

Interventional radiologists can perform angiogram/endovascular procedures throughout the body:

  • Abdominal
  • Bilateral lower extremities
  • Carotid
  • Cerebral
  • Hepatic (examines blood vessels in the liver)
  • Mesenteric (looks at blood vessels in the abdomen)
  • Renal (kidneys)

Prostate artery embolization

Lee Health now offers a minimally invasive image-guided procedure called prostate artery embolization (PAE), which can help men suffering from an enlarged prostate.

An enlarged prostate can cause urinary frequency, frequency at night (nocturia), urinary retention, blood in the urine (hematuria), weak stream, and difficulty going and/or starting and stopping urination.

Traditionally, surgery helps manage prostate enlargement when medication fails. But surgery comes with risks such as urinary incontinence and possibly even sexual dysfunction. In PAE, doctors insert a catheter into an artery that leads to the prostate’s blood vessels.

The doctor will then block the flow of blood into the prostate, which shrinks the gland and improves symptoms.

Symptoms from prostate enlargement have a negative effect on a man’s quality of life.

Prostate artery embolization is a very well tolerated and minimally invasive treatment option that is an outpatient procedure, which can significantly reduce these troubling urinary symptoms without the risk of impotence or incontinence. 

What Should Patients Expect?

Any type of procedure has the potential to cause a little bit of stress. But patients who are referred by their doctors for interventional radiology don’t have to worry: They will get scheduled quickly and feel confident that potentially complicated surgeries and procedures will be easier than ever before.

Preparation

So how should patients prepare for IR? Well, it depends on the specific procedure. Your primary physician will refer you to one of our offices, and our staff will talk to you and answer questions.

  • Some patients won’t need any special medical preparations before their procedure.
  • Some will need to take blood thinners or have minor lab work.
  • Others may need to get a physical or provide details about their medical history.
  • For some more complex procedures, we may ask you to consult one of our interventional radiologists. But even if you don’t require a consultation, please remember that we are happy to answer all of your questions before your procedure. Either way, you will get detailed instructions so that you feel confident, educated, calm, and feeling good about your medical care.

Advantages of Conscious Sedation

Another great advantage of interventional radiology: Sedation for your procedure will be much simpler and more manageable.

Most patients will undergo conscious sedation instead of general anesthesia. Conscious sedation is a combination of medicine that will help you relax and block pain.

One of our team members will gently administer the drugs either through an IV or a shot. We will monitor your reactions to sedation throughout the procedure.

Conscious sedation ensures that you will be awake and alert much faster after your procedure is finished.

Patients who require sedation will not be allowed to drive for 24 hours, so please bring someone who can drive you to and from your appointment.

It’s called interventional radiology. “It really has opened up the medical field to additional therapies for patients and treating conditions that otherwise were not treatable before,” explained Dr. David Johnson, a diagnostic radiologist on the medical staff of Lee Health. He says many of the procedures performed through interventional radiology are alternatives to surgery. “it really is essential, from biopsies, to central lines, to life-saving therapies for patients who are bleeding, there are so many different things that we do and so many things that impact patients in a very positive way,” he said. Interventional radiology is minimally invasive, image guided procedures. Doctors use imaging like CT scans, ultrasounds, or x-rays to ensure accuracy during the procedure. “We can see exactly where the needle is going at all times. We can take a picture and make sure that the needle is going where we want it to go. It gives me the confidence to make sure that I’m doing the job correctly, and it makes things that would otherwise be impossible, possible,” Dr. Johnson said. Because the procedure is minimally invasive, patients are typically sedated and are able to go home the same day. “We know that when patients need these sort of procedures it can be very anxiety provoking and there’s a lot of uncertainty. We do our best to make sure the patients are comfortable and understand everything that is going on with them,” he said. Whether its lung nodules, blood clots, kidney dysfunction, or liver dysfunction, interventional radiology can help patients get the answers and care they need using minimally invasive techniques.