Minimally invasive interventional radiology techniques are used to treat a wide variety of medical conditions. Radiologists use X-ray and other imaging technologies (MRI, CT and ultrasound) to guide small wires or catheters (thin, flexible tube) with specialized instruments to treat affected areas of the body. These procedures only require a tiny incision where the catheter is inserted into an artery, so it results in less blood loss, less pain and a quicker recovery for patients.
Lehigh Regional Medical Center offers a range of minimally invasive interventional radiology techniques to offer safe and effective options to treat a variety of conditions, including:
Angiography and angioplasty
A diagnostic angiogram is used to examine the inside of arteries and veins to detect blockages or narrowing of the vessels. In angioplasty, a catheter fitted with a balloon device is guided to the affected area to expand the walls and restore blood flow, or a laser can be used to break up the blockage. In some cases a stent (mesh tube) is placed in the artery to hold it open. Angioplasty can be used to treat everything from heart disease and circulatory problems to ischemic stroke.
Embolization is used to stop abnormal bleeding or to cut off blood supply to a particular area, such as a tumor. Catheters are used to deliver blood-clotting medication, or to place particles or coils in the vessels to stop blood flow. Embolization can provide a life-saving treatment for hemorrhagic stroke and trauma patients, and can serve as an effective treatment for fibroids.
Ablation is used to destroy abnormal cells with a catheter fitted with a tiny electrode. It can be used to treat everything from varicose veins and chronic pain to heart arrhythmias and cancer.
Vertebroplasty is used to treat back pain and compression fractures of the spine. Doctors insert a needle into the affected vertebrae and inject bone cement to stabilize the vertebrae and prevent further damage.
Cardiac catheterization procedures
Interventional cardiologists use a variety of minimally invasive catheter-based techniques to treat heart disease, including angioplasty and stenting to unblock clogged arteries and veins, radiofrequency ablation to treat arrhythmias, and coronary atherectomy to remove hardened plaque from a blocked artery. Doctors use diagnostic exams such as nuclear medicine scans, angiograms and echocardiograms, to examine the heart muscle, valves, veins and arteries for heart disease.