Interventional Radiology

Icon Interventional Radiology

Interventional Radiology Services

Interventional radiologists perform minimally invasive procedures using imaging guidance to diagnose or treat many medical conditions. During our procedures, we use ultrasound, radiography, and CT scans to see into the body, instead of opening the body. As a result the recovery is usually shorter and risks are usually less than with open surgery for the same treatment.

We typically work with physicians of other specialties to help diagnose or treat numerous conditions. While we are little known to the public at large, most hospital based doctors use our services. Common procedures include biopsies, drainages, and venous catheter placement. More complex procedures include opening blood vessels to improve blood flow, blocking blood vessels to stop bleeding, treating spinal fractures and uterine fibroids, and placing feeding tubes. With the exception of the brain and heart, we work on every part of the body.

Our interventional radiology physicians are all fellowship trained and committed to delivering outstanding patient care. We are here to help you.

At Hampton Roads Radiology, we use imaging guidance to perform minimally invasive surgical procedures that diagnose, treat, and cure many kinds of conditions.

The following is a list of some of the minimally invasive procedures that we perform.  Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and every possible type of procedure is not listed.  Additionally, we are always adding new advanced techniques to our armamentarium to provide you with the best possible care.

Angioplasty – a minimally invasive treatment where a catheter is used to open a blocked blood vessel to improve the blood flow. Fluoroscopy (real time X-ray) guidance is used to help guide a catheter which is inserted through a blood vessel typically at the groin.  The catheter has a balloon over it which is then inflated to open the blockage blood vessel.  Sometimes a very small mesh stent is also placed to help the vessel remain open.

Central venous access – this procedure is the insertion of a special tube called a catheter beneath the skin and into blood vessels which allows the patient to receive medication or nutrients directly into the bloodstream.  These include external catheters and implanted ports.

Chemoembolization – a minimally invasive treatment for cancer, usually hepatocellular (liver) cancer.  Using image guidance,  a catheter is guided through blood vessels and is used to inject a chemotherapy agent and an embolic (blood vessel blocking) into the blood vessels supplying the tumor to stop its blood supply and to deliver chemotherapy at the same time.

Embolization – a minimally invasive technique to block vessels by using a catheter to inject medical agents or small devices/coils into a blood vessel  to temporarily or permanently stop the blood supply and stop any bleeding. This procedure is used to treat several conditions, such as uterine fibroids, enlarged/congested pelvic veins, enlarged prostate, varicoceles,  internal bleeding, and other conditions. Please see our separate Uterine Fibroid Spine Embolization (UFE) page for further details.

Feeding tube placement – minimally invasive procedure where a small tube/catheter is safely inserted directly into the stomach or the small intestine to help patients who need additional nutrition, usually because a patient is unable to eat/drink by mouth.

Image guided biopsy – minimally invasive procedure where a biopsy needle is safely guided into a mass or tumor with various types of medical imaging (ultrasound, CT, fluoroscopy, etc).   The biopsy needles are typically special hollow biopsy needles which allow placement of a thinner inner needle to obtain more than one biopsy, if necessary, after a single outer needle placement.

IVC filter placement  and retrieval – a minimally invasive procedure where a special filter is placed inside a large vein (inferior vena cava, IVC) in the abdomen.  The filter traps blood clots that may break free and travel from the veins in the legs and keep them from reaching the heart or lungs. An IVC filter is one of the treatments to prevent a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot to the lungs) and is often only placed in patients that cannot receive blood thinners or if blood thinner medication has failed.  Often these IVC filters are placed only on a temporary basis; Interventional radiology can provide the necessary image guided retrieval of the filter once it is no longer medically needed.

Percutaneous drainage – a procedure that is performed when an abscess (collection of infection with pus) is drained by placing a special catheter through a small nick in the skin and directed into the abscess. These abscesses may develop as part of an internal infection process or potentially as a complications of surgery.

Sclerotherapy – a minimally invasive procedure where an injection of a chemical irritant into a vein is performed to cause the enlarged vein to shrink and close. We typically perform this procedure with pelvic congestion syndrome or  with balloon-occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration (BRTO).

Stenting –  a minimally invasive procedure where a catheter is inserted into the blood vessel and used to place a special metal mesh covering a woven tube is placed  inside a vessel to reinforce the wall.  Larger stent grafts are stents covered by graft material and are often used to treat an enlarged aorta in the abdomen.

Transhepatic biliary procedures –  a minimally invasive technique to open bile ducts by temporarily inserting a tube through the skin and the liver. Both ultrasound and fluoroscopy (real time x-rays) are used for guidance. Additionally, occasionally small balloons or stents are positioned at sites of strictures/narrowing and are carefully inflated to help widen the narrowed bile duct.

Thrombolysis – technique used to improve blood flow by dissolving abnormal blood clots that produce vessel blockages and narrowing. A blood clot (or  thrombus) may limit blood supply to parts of the body and result in serious damage. Fluoroscopy (real time x-rays) is used to guide a catheter to the site of the blood clot, and then injection of anti-clotting medication is performed through the catheter to dissolve the blockage and improve blood flow to an extremity  or organ.

Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) – specialized technique used in cirrhosis patients to reduce internal bleeding in the stomach and esophagus by placing a stent (a tiny mesh tube) which creates a shunt to allow blood leaving the intestines to directly return to the heart and bypass the liver.

Vertebral Augmentation – Refers to minimally invasive procedures such as Kyphoplasty or Vertebroplasty where special medical cement is injected to treat painful spine fractures.  Under local anesthesia (numbing medicine),  special needles are inserted through the skin and back muscles and into the fractured bone of the spine, and the cement is injected. Please see our separate Spine Intervention Services page for further details.