Interventional Radiology is a growing medical specialty that enables radiologists to perform medical procedures for diagnosing, treating, and curing a variety of diseases in a minimally invasive way. With interventional radiology, the specialists look inside the body with imaging tests such as CT scans, MRIs, and ultrasounds.
Most interventional radiology procedures are alternativeness of open surgeries. According to the interventional radiologist, several diseases can be treated with this procedure:
- Kidney and liver cancers
- Uterine fibroids
- Varicose veins and blood clots in the legs
- Enlarged prostate
- Pelvic congestion syndrome
- Vein enlargement within the scrotum
In addition, more people are turning toward interventional radiology because it involves lower risks of major complications, and its procedures, usually, are cheap than significant surgeries.
Procedures of Interventional Radiology
There are several procedures that radiologists do against different diseases. These procedures are:
Injection of Clot-Dissolving Medications
In this procedure, radiologists inject clot-dissolving medications such as tissue plasminogen activator. This activator helps in dissolving blood clots and increases blood flow to the legs, arms, and other organs in the body.
This is an X-ray of the veins and arteries to find blockage or narrowing of the vessels along with other problems.
During this type of radiology, doctors put a substance into a blood vessel to achieve the purpose of stopping blood flow in that vessel. Usually, this procedure can be done to stop or control bleeding.
The doctor puts a catheter that has a small balloon on its tip into a blood vessel. After that, the doctor inflates the balloon to open up the area of blockage inside the vessel.
Radiologists put a small needle into any part of the body for taking a tissue biopsy, guided by imaging techniques. The greatest benefit of needle biopsy is that it can give a diagnosis without surgeries. Needle breast surgery is an example of needle biopsy.
The radiologist puts a catheter in the large vein to give chemotherapy medications, hemodialysis, and nutrition. Sometimes, a patient may put in a catheter before bone-marrow transplants.
In this procedure, the radiologist places a stent (tiny mesh coil) inside the blood vessel at the blockage site. After that, the doctor expands the stent to open up the blockage.
A radiologist uses ultrasound to take a look inside the blood vessel to find different problems.
Inferior Vena Cava Filters
Doctors put a small needle into the inferior vena cava, also known as IVC. These filters play an essential role in catching blood clots that may go into the lungs.
If you are unable to eat through the mouth, then a radiologist puts a tube in the stomach.
These procedures are considered safer than open surgeries and have several benefits as compared to them.
Benefits of Interventional Radiology
Here are some reasons for considering an interventional radiology procedure than other major medical procedures:
No Hospital Stay
No one of us wants to visit a hospital if we do not have to. Almost all the interventional procedures are done within a short time than traditional treatments like major surgeries. Therefore, a patient does not need to stay at a hospital, and he can leave the hospital as soon as the procedure is done.
Radiologists perform interventional radiology procedures inserting high-tech wires through the groin or wrist. From the wrist or groin, the wires are directed through the vascular system to any place where the issue resides. There are no nerves in blood vessels. Therefore, there is no pain during an interventional radiology procedure.
Faster Recovery within some weeks
Usually, the recovery time from IR procedures will be faster than traditional surgery ways. For instance, a hysterectomy (a procedure to remove the womb) may require some weeks for a patient to recover. With the uterine fibroid embolization procedure, the recovery time is measured in some days.
No General Anesthesia
There are several risks associated with general anesthesia, and these risks are unavoidable with most open surgeries. General anesthesia is not considered important with interventional radiology procedures. Usually, you will get local anesthesia to calm you and terminate the risks of general anesthesia.
Less Blood Loss
In every surgery, minor and major, there are risks of mild to moderate blood loss, and these risks can’t be reduced at any cost. In contrast to these surgeries, there are fewer risks in any interventional radiology procedure.
Lower Risks of Infection
There are also risks of getting an infection after surgery. In major surgeries, there are higher risks of infections due to large cuts. However, the chances of these risks can be reduced but can’t be terminated. But almost there are no risks of infection after an IR procedure.
Interventional radiology is considered a safe and effective treatment as compared to major surgeries. In addition, there are fewer side effects involved during and after the IR procedure as some major risks are involved in open surgeries. Therefore, you can choose this way of treatment without hesitation with your doctor’s consent.