Eighteenth-century French physician/philosopher Julien Offroy de la Mettrie once said, “The human body is a machine which winds its own springs.” It’s true that the body is a miraculous creation. But when it doesn’t function properly, the problem is often inside the body, making it difficult if not impossible to reach with superficial treatments.
In the past, internal diseases and ailments required surgery so that the doctor could see the problem in order to fix it. But over the years, new technologies have emerged which allow physicians to use imaging scans not just to prepare for procedures, but to avoid significant surgery altogether. The discipline that has evolved around this approach is known as interventional radiology.
What is Interventional Radiology?
Generally speaking, interventional radiology utilizes imaging scans as part of minimally-invasive procedures to address diseases and conditions which would have required major surgery decades ago. In other words, instead of cutting open the body to get at a problem, interventional radiologists make small incisions and use scans to access the specific area via catheters or similar technologically-advanced instruments. Many people refer to interventional radiology as the future of surgical medicine.
Interventional radiologists commonly use digital subtraction angiography in order to visualize an area that is causing a patient pain, discomfort, or disease. Ultrasound, fluoroscopy, and CT guidance are also used for this purpose. This specialty is especially well-suited to vascular medicine because of the intricacies and complexity associated with the human heart.
How Interventional Radiology Can Help
Common interventional radiology procedures include:
- Stent placement
- Opening occluded fistulas and grafts
- Tumor, fibroid, and hemorrhage embolization
- Endovascular stent grafts for aortic aneurysms
- Venous access device implantation for chemotherapy infusion
- Percutaneous image-guided drainage and biopsy
- Central line placement
- Inferior vena cava filter placement and removal
Advantages of Interventional Radiology
Generally, interventional radiology procedures are preferred by health care facilities because they are less costly and require a shorter recovery time than general surgery does. In addition to these reasons, patients like interventional radiology procedures because of the reduced pain and discomfort involved, as well as the fact that these procedures can often be performed on an outpatient basis, thereby eliminating the need for a hospital stay altogether.
The Growing Interventional Radiology Field
As a result of the trend regarding interventional radiology, SteleRAD has recently opened a new vascular, endovascular, and access surgical facility in South Florida. Palm Vascular Centers specializes in outpatient treatment procedures such as peripheral arterial disease, uterine fibroid embolization, and dialysis access management. The facility also offers pain management as well as varicose and spider vein treatments.
SteleRAD’s interventional radiology department is on the forefront of this new and emerging field. The specialists on staff are highly skilled in performing all of the procedures listed above, and are fully dedicated to minimizing the pain and discomfort of their patients. Dr. Nicholas Arfaras, Dr. Jon Guben, Dr. Joel Erickson, Dr. Linda Hughes, Dr. Michael Gordon, and Dr. David Ring have decades of radiology experience and are committed to adapting the latest state-of-the-art techniques and procedures to diagnose and treat their patients.