Department: Vascular and Neuro Interventional Radiology
Interventional Radiology is a subspecialty of radiology, providing minimally invasive treatments performed under guidance of x-ray fluoroscopy, ultrasound or computed tomography. Under image guidance, through a small hole (<2mm nick in the skin) they guide small instruments such as needles and catheters (tubes that measure just a few millimeters in diameter) through the blood vessels or other body pathways to the site of a problem to treat or detect disease percutaneously (through the skin). These procedures are performed in an interventional department (not in an operating theatre). In simple terms interventional radiologists “Not Just Diagnose But Treat too” with minimal invasive techniques.
- These are highly sophisticated medical procedures; do not involve large incisions and therefore are much less invasive.
- In majority of cases local anesthetic is used instead of general anesthesia. Thus risk, pain and recovery time are often significantly reduced.
- Most procedures do not require hospital admission (done as an outpatient) or require only a short hospital and therefore, The procedures are sometimes less expensive than surgery or other alternatives.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q) Will IR treatment hurt?
A.) There can be some discomfort. Local anesthetic (numbing medicine) or sedation is used as needed for pain and anxiety. Often you will feel warmth from the contrast medium.
Q) For how much time will I be required to stay in the hospital?
A.) It depends on the kind of procedure. For diagnostic Angiography, you will be needed to stay in hospital for 6 hours after the procedure is over.
Some therapeutic procedures are performed on outpatient basis, and you can go home same day, however for other procedures like embolization and stenting, 1 to 3 days hospital stay is required.
Q) Is this treatment costly?
A.) The materials used for these procedures are expensive and more or less all these are imported from foreign countries. So at the beginning, the interventional procedures are sometimes expensive than surgery or other alternatives. However with IR procedures large incision is not needed, so hospital stay is either not required or reduced, patient can soon start his normal day to day activities and go back to earn his livelihood. Further expensive medicines are often not needed. So taking all these into account, IR procedures are less expensive.
Q).Are there any Limitations/disadvantages of this treatment option? Why these treatment options are not available very commonly?
A).These are highly sophisticated medical procedures performed by skilled radiologists under the guidance of very expensive machines. Therefore these treatments are operator dependent and require state of the art machines for good resolution so as to help the IR to reach the diseased part as near as possible. Further to a certain extent, these treatments are anatomy dependent and so sometimes it becomes difficult for IR to reach super selectively and offer suitable treatment. In such cases open surgical treatment option is available to you.
Q). How do I know if I am the candidate for Interventional radiological treatment option?
A). Whenever you are advised any treatment, you may ask your family doctor or referring physician or interventional radiologist “Is there any alternative minimal invasive treatment option available to me.