The interventional radiology team at Mountain Vista Medical Center uses minimally invasive medical procedures to diagnose and treat a wide range of medical conditions and diseases — without the need for conventional, open-incision surgery. Using advanced imaging and diagnostic solutions, such as X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and ultrasounds, combined with various small instruments or tools, interventional radiologists on the medical staff at Mountain Vista can target the source of a condition or disease and provide diagnoses and treatment.
What is Interventional Radiology?
Interventional radiology is a subspecialty of diagnostic radiology that requires physicians to have additional fellowship training and board certifications. Interventional radiologists specialize in minimally invasive, image guided procedures using the latest technologies. Using their advanced knowledge in both diagnostic imaging and clinical expertise, interventional radiologists on the medical staff can treat a wide range of diseases with non-surgical approaches. The board-certified interventional radiologists on the medical staff at Mountain Vista Medical Center provide enhanced patient care using this advanced technology.
Benefits of Interventional Radiology
Interventional radiology offers patients the least invasive treatments available for many different conditions and diseases. When compared to open surgery, interventional radiology may provide patients with numerous benefits, including:
- Shorter hospital stays, and in some cases, none required.
- Less pain.
- Less scarring.
- Faster recovery.
- Less risk for infection.
- No general anesthesia.
- More cost effective.
Interventional Radiology Treatment at Mountain Vista
At Mountain Vista Medical Center, interventional radiology offers a minimally invasive alternative to surgery for many different medical conditions, including:
- Abdominal aortic aneurysms.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
- Kidney disease/failure (dialysis management).
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)/peripheral vascular disease (PVD).
- Spinal compression fractures.
- Uterine fibroids.
- Venous insufficiency.
An aortic aneurysm is a ballooning or dilatation of the aorta, the large artery that carries blood from the heart through the chest and abdomen. Common risk factors for aortic aneurysms include smoking, hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol levels and diabetes. Aortic aneurysms are usually caused by arteriosclerosis — a condition that weakens the aortic wall, enabling the pressure of the blood being pumped through the aorta to expand the weakened area.
Interventional radiologists on the medical staff at Mountain Vista Medical Center use imaging solutions to help guide a catheter and graft inside the patient’s artery. During this minimally invasive procedure, a small incision is made near the groin through which a catheter is passed into the femoral artery and directed to the aortic aneurysm. Through the catheter, a radiologist on the medical staff passes a compressed stent graft into the aortic aneurysm. The stent graft is then opened, creating support for the arterial wall and improving blood flow.
There is a wide variety of tests that physicians perform to help diagnose cancer, including blood tests, physical examinations and imaging techniques, including X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and ultrasounds. Usually, however, the final diagnosis cannot be made until a biopsy is performed. In a biopsy, a sample of tissue from a tumor or other abnormality is obtained and examined to determine the type of cancer and whether it is likely to be fast or slow growing. Using interventional radiology techniques, tissue samples can be obtained without the need for open surgery (in most cases).
Should cancer be detected, surgical removal of the malignant tumor offers the best chance for a cure. Unfortunately, some cancerous tumors are inoperable due to their size, quantity and/or location. When surgical removal is not possible, or it is too risky, interventional radiology procedures may be performed on an outpatient basis or during a short hospital stay.
Interventional radiologists on the medical staff at Mountain Vista Medical Center can deliver targeted treatments via a catheter throughout the body to treat cancer patients, without medication and without affecting other parts of the body. Embolization is a well-established interventional radiology technique that is used to treat tumors. In treating cancer patients, interventional radiologists use embolization to cut off the blood supply to the tumor, deliver radiation to a tumor (radioembolization), or combine this technique with chemotherapy to deliver the cancer drug directly to the tumor (chemoembolization). Additionally, interventional radiologists on the medical staff can use imaging to guide them directly to the tumor through the skin to administer radiofrequency heat to kill the cancer cells (radiofrequency ablation) or cyroablation to freeze the tumor.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a medical condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein. These clots usually develop in the lower leg, thigh or pelvis, but can also occur in the arm. Risk factors include genetic background, immobility (bed rest or sitting for long periods of time), hormone therapy or oral contraceptives, limb trauma and/or orthopedic procedures, and obesity. Symptoms may include discoloration, pain, tenderness and/or swelling of the legs, leg fatigue and surface veins becoming more visible. If undetected and untreated, DVT can result in serious/chronic illness, disability, and in some cases, even death.
From ultrasounds that evaluate blood flow and X-rays that detect clots, to computed tomography (CT) scanning and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for more advanced clot detection, interventional radiologists on the medical staff at Mountain Vista Medical Center can perform several tests and procedures to prevent, detect and diagnose DVT. Interventional radiologists on the medical staff at Mountain Vista Medical Center can place a catheter into the vein and place clot-dissolving medicine directly into the blood clot for removal.
Kidneys perform many vital functions to maintain overall health, including filtering waste and excess fluids from the blood. Kidneys can become damaged and can fail due to serious disease, such as diabetes, hypertension or obesity, serious infection or the overuse of medication. Symptoms of kidney failure include nausea, vomiting, weakness, fatigue, confusion, difficulty concentrating and loss of appetite.
At Mountain Vista Medical Center, interventional radiologists on the medical staff provide dialysis vein access treatment for patients suffering from kidney failure.
Several catheters can be placed for dialysis. If an arteriovenous fistula (an abnormal connection or passageway between an artery and a vein) or graft is in place, the interventional radiologist on the medical staff at Mountain Vista Medical Center can place a catheter, like a stent placement, to maintain good flow for dialysis.
Peripheral vascular disease (PVD), also commonly referred to as peripheral artery disease (PAD), is the narrowing or blockage of the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the legs and feet, usually resulting from a buildup of cholesterol deposits within the arterial wall. Common causes include high cholesterol levels, smoking, diabetes and congenital factors. Symptoms may include pain in the calves or legs when walking, hip and thigh pain, and erectile dysfunction. Individuals with peripheral artery disease are at risk for developing coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular disease — which could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
For some patients with PAD/PVD, interventional radiologists on the medical staff at Mountain Vista Medical Center can perform non-surgical procedures to open blocked arteries and restore blood circulation to the legs. Treatments may include balloon angioplasty, stent placement and thrombolysis (breaking up and dissolving blood clots).
A spinal compression fracture occurs when the bones in the spine, called vertebrae, get so weak that they fracture and collapse. Spine fractures can be caused by a fall, spine overextension, or from simple movements, such as coughing or sneezing. Spinal compression fractures are most common for patients who have experienced a spinal fracture in the past or have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, cancer or low bone mineral density. Pain from a spinal fracture can be mild or severe, spread out or limited to a specific area, and may develop gradually.
At Mountain Vista Medical Center, interventional radiologists on the medical staff use a variety of diagnostic tools such as CT scans, MRIs and bone scans to determine if a patient is suffering from a spinal compression fracture. The interventional radiologists on the medical staff can perform several minimally invasive surgical procedures to treat spinal compression fractures, including vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. In these procedures, interventional radiologists relieve pain by stabilizing spinal fractures and the spine.
Kyphoplasty involves placing small needles in the back. Through these needles, small balloons are used to restore the shape of the collapsed vertebral body. Cement is then injected to stabilize the fracture and promote pain relief.
Uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors that grow on the inside and/or outside walls of the uterus. Rarely do uterine fibroids become cancerous. Uterine fibroids can range in size from very tiny (a quarter of an inch) to larger than a cantaloupe. Most fibroids don’t cause symptoms — only 10 to 20 percent of women who have fibroids require treatment. Depending on size, location and the number of fibroids, some women may experience:
- Heavy, prolonged menstrual periods, unusual monthly bleeding and clotting.
- Pelvic pain and pressure.
- Pain in the back and legs.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
- Bladder pressure, leading to a frequent urge to urinate.
- Pressure on the bowel, causing constipation and bloating.
Interventional radiologists on the medical staff at Mountain Vista Medical Center can perform safe and effective uterine fibroid embolization, a minimally invasive treatment for fibroid tumors. In this procedure, small particles are injected through a thin, flexible catheter and are guided (using an X-ray or ultrasound) to the fibroid tumor. The small particles block the arteries that provide blood flow, causing the fibroids to shrink.
Many women seek uterine fibroid embolization as a safe alternative to a hysterectomy and may experience faster recovery times, less complications and less scarring.
Venous insufficiency is a condition in which the flow of blood through the veins is impaired. Venous insufficiency can be caused by a number of disorders of the veins, particularly deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) or varicose veins. Common symptoms of venous insufficiency include edema (swelling), skin discoloration, skin ulcers, aching/burning/throbbing sensations in the legs and feet, cramping and leg weakness.
The interventional radiologists on the medical staff at Mountain Vista Medical Center can perform an ultrasound evaluation to define the venous anatomy and severity. A small catheter can be placed into the vein and using radiofrequency ablation or laser, the vein can be fixed to allow for improved blood flow, decreased pain and improved appearance of the veins in the leg (i.e., varicose veins).
For more information about interventional radiology services provided at Mountain Vista Medical Center, please call 1-877-924-WELL (9355).