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Other Interventional Radiology Procedures

These broad areas are also key to the expanding list of procedures offered by interventional radiology:

Tissue ablation

Radiologists target and kill cancer tissue by infusing chemicals into the circulation immediately upstream of a tumor location and occluding circulation below it, in order to concentrate therapeutic drugs on cancer cells. The specialists typically use the approach to treat liver tumors. They may also use heat from radiofrequency or laser catheters to kill tumor tissue (or to destroy abnormal vessels such as those that cause varicose veins or venous insufficiency). Alternatively, they use freezing (cryoablation) to kill abnormal tissue. With these strategies, the radiology physicians can target tumors in the bone, breast and lung as well.

Embolization

The interventional radiology subspecialtists can also inject substances that close off blood vessels, in order to stop bleeding, or to shrink and destroy the vessels or problem areas that receive blood supply from these vessels. Embolization has become an important approach, for example, for treating uterine fibroids (noncancerous uterine tumors). The treatment blocks the uterine arteries and kills fibroid tumors and surrounding uterine tissue, allowing the patient to avoid having to undergo a hysterectomy. The approach is also effective in treating cancerous tumors, particularly in the liver. Radiologists use it as well to reverse varicocele, enlargement of the veins that drain the testicles of blood in the scrotum (varicose veins of the scrotum), and to seal enlarged veins that may cause pelvic pain in women.

Drainage

Radiologists are also the specialists (in addition to surgeons) who use image guidance to create drainage for various organs. For example, they may perform a nephrostomy, in which they place a catheter through the skin and into the upper part of the urinary tract to allow drainage of urine externally. Similarly, they may use imaging to guide placement of biliary tubes (cholecystostomy), used to drain bile from the liver in cases where a patient’s biliary duct is blocked. Likewise, these doctors may place other tubes to drain infected or fluid-filled areas of the body including the chest. These tubes require care and maintenance, and often replacement.

Feeding tubes

The interventional radiology team also places tubes through the skin and into the stomach (gastrostomy) or intestine (jejunostomy) through which feeding can be instilled.

Opening blockages

This interventionalist in radiology can use imaging to identify blockages and employ catheters to open them, as in female fallopian tubes to correct fertility problems.

More information on interventional radiology.

To arrange for radiology services at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center or Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County:

Ablation and embolization are key strategies for treating conditions ranging from cancer to varicose veins.

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