radiology imaging

 

Radiology imaging isn’t just used to diagnose injuries and illnesses, but is also increasingly used in actually treating the conditions discovered. Angioplasty and installation of catheter-delivered stents are perhaps the most well-known interventional radiology procedures, but there are many others, including new and emerging treatments for many common types of cancers.

Interventional radiology offers levels of precision in diagnosis and treatment that allow doctors to target treatment accurately, minimizing invasiveness of treatments and often minimizing treatment side effects as well. In many cases, costs are lower with interventional radiology than with traditional treatment methods. Interventional radiology that employs radiology imaging in diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and kidney cancer have shown promising results.

Diagnosis and Cryoblation Treatment of Breast Cancer Using Interventional Radiology

Interventional radiology has long been used in breast biopsies, by helping guide procedures like fine-needle aspiration and core needle biopsy. Breast biopsies remove cells, either surgically or using a hollow needle, from areas that radiology imaging has shown to be suspicious. The cells are then examined for diagnosis. Image-guided needle biopsy is guided by imagery provided by ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or mammography imaging. Ultrasound-guided breast biopsy, for example, uses real-time ultrasound to help the radiologist guide instruments to the site of the abnormal growth.

new technique for treating breast cancer uses radiology imaging in the form of ultrasound to guide a physician in positioning a small probe inside a breast tumor and ablating it with very cold temperatures that are delivered through the probe. The cold temperatures destroy the tumor. Performed in a physician’s office in only about 15 minutes under local anesthesia, cryoblation of breast tumors is not painful and leaves virtually no scar. This new interventional radiology procedure offers many clinical and quality-of-life benefits for patients.

New Technologies for Guiding Prostate Biopsy

Prostate cancer is still diagnosed with “blind” needle biopsies. Ultrasound radiology imaging can localize the prostate gland, but it cannot show where in the prostate cancer may be located. Unfortunately, this means biopsies are conducted with repeated needle insertions to remove samples of cancerous tissue for evaluation. Around 35% of serious prostate tumors can be missed by this technique, and patients may have to have repeated biopsies.

But trials have begun using an MRI-compatible robot to help physicians have the detailed anatomical and tissue characterization they need in order to place biopsy needles more accurately in diagnosing prostate cancer. The robot, along with MRI radiology imaging gives the physician more information to use in placing the biopsy needle, permitting greater accuracy. The probability of hitting the target tissue on the first insertion is much higher with the more detailed imaging. The result for the patient is fewer needle placements and less need for repeated biopsies.

Locating and Treating Lung Cancer With Guided Ablation Needle

Radiology imaging in the form of chest x-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans have long been used in diagnosis of lung cancer. Now, however, interventional radiologists can use radiology imaging to deliver treatments to lung tumors with minimal side effects and minimal damage to nearby healthy tissue. One technique involves using the lung’s vascular system to deliver chemotherapy directly to the tumor’s vascular supply, giving a high dose of toxicity directly to the cancer while limiting damage and toxicity to the rest of the body.

Another method uses either high-temperature or low-temperature ablation guided by radiology imaging directly into a tumor to either “cook” or “freeze” the cancer. The high or low temperatures are delivered via a special needle inserted directly into the cancer, sparing nearby healthy tissue from significant damage. The result is less invasive treatment with fewer side effects for the patient.

Image-Guided Biopsy and Cryoblation of Kidney Tumors

CT and MRI imaging are used to identify tumors on the kidney, and ultrasound can be used to guide needle biopsy of tumors on the kidney for evaluation. Such interventional radiology techniques let doctors and patients avoid open surgery in diagnosis of cancers of the kidney.

Image-guided cryoblation is showing very encouraging results in treating kidney tumors of up to four centimeters in size that are localized to the kidney. Some larger localized tumors can be successfully treated this way as well. After one year, ablated tumors simply show up as dead scar tissue after only one treatment.

Studies comparing traditional treatment of partial nephrectomy with cryoblation treatment are expected to show equivalent outcomes. This is great news because the cryoblation technique is less invasive, easier on the patient, and spares most healthy kidney tissue. Patients are sent home the next day or sometimes even on the same day as the procedure.

Interventional Radiology Benefits to Patients

Interventional radiology allows doctors to use radiology imaging to perform less invasive diagnoses and treatments, minimizing patient risk, speeding recovery, and improving outcomes. The Board-certified interventional radiologists of SteleRAD are able to offer these techniques to patients in the South Florida region. SteleRAD’s experienced interventional radiologists are:

Nicholas Arafas, MD
Linda Hughes, MD
Jon K. Guben, MD
Michael B. Gordon, MD, PhD
Joel Erickson, MD
David H. Ring, Jr., MD

Interventional radiology like that performed by the specialists at SteleRAD has allowed a shift away from invasive techniques for diagnosis and treatment of many conditions. It takes a skilled and experienced interventional radiologist to evaluate each patient individually to determine whether he or she is a good candidate for new and promising minimally invasive techniques. Surgical intervention may never be eliminated, but interventional radiologists are able to offer these promising new techniques to more people than ever. In cases of cancer in particular, earlier and less invasive diagnosis and treatment has revolutionized many practices and influenced development of even more innovative techniques using radiology imaging.

Conclusion

SteleRAD is owned and operated by Board-certified radiologists who are experienced in all radiological subspecialties, including interventional radiology. Possessing over 40 years of experience in radiology, SteleRAD’s physicians serve hospitals, imaging centers, and physician groups in the South Florida region with the latest and most advanced techniques involving radiology imaging. If you are interested in learning more about the subspecialties covered by the physicians of SteleRAD, call 954-358-5250 or contact us online.