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Interventional Radiology

What is Interventional Radiology?

Interventional Radiology is a specialized and rapidly-expanding field within the conventional radiology department. These radiologists specialize in minimally-invasive procedures and therapies using image guidance (X-ray, CT-scan, ultrasound, and/or MRI) to pass small catheters, wires, or needles into the body. This dynamic field offers an alternative to open surgical procedures. Procedures are done in a way that is less invasive and easier on the patient, carries less risk, decreases recovery time, and limits the need for hospital admission.

Common interventional procedures


An X-ray of the arteries or veins to diagnose blockages and other blood vessel problems that is done using a catheter to enter the blood vessel and to inject a contrast agent (X-ray dye) to make the artery or vein visible on X-ray.

Arteriovenous Fistula/ Graft Evaluation and Intervention

Use of angiography, balloon angioplasty, stenting, and thrombolysis to improve blood flow through a fistula or graft so the patient can receive hemodialysis. Hemodialysis is a way to remove toxins from the blood when the kidneys are not functioning correctly.

Balloon Angioplasty

Opens blocked or narrowed blood vessels by inserting and inflating a very small balloon. These balloons can be used to unblock clogged arteries and veins in the legs, arms, kidneys, or other places in the body.

Biliary Drainage and Stenting

Uses a stent (small mesh tube) to open up blocked biliary ducts to allow bile to drain from the liver. A drainage bag may be left in place to collect the bile.


Obtaining a small sample of tissue for pathologic evaluation. Many different areas of the body can be biopsied; some examples of biopsies that are done include bone, bone marrow, soft tissue, or lymph nodes.

Breast Biopsies (Mammotome/ Stereotactic/ MRI)

Tissue sample is obtained using highly specialized equipment.

Central Venous Access

Insertion of a catheter into a vein so that patients can receive medication or nutrients directly into the blood stream. Also allows for easy blood draws.


Delivery of cancer-fighting agents directly to the site of a cancer tumor. Most commonly used to treat cancers of the endocrine system and liver.

Chest Tube Insertion

Placing a small tube so the tip of the tube sits in either the air or fluid that has accumulated on top of a lung.


Delivery of an extremely cold substance to the site of diseased tissue. The cold temperatures freeze and destroy the tissue. Used to treat different types of cancers.

Cryoplasty (Cryo-Balloon Angioplasty)

Opens blocked or narrowed blood vessels by inserting and inflating a very small balloon that is filled with a very cold substance that freezes the surrounding tissue. The freezing minimizes the risk that the blockage will reoccur.

Drainage Tube Placement

Insertion of a drainage tube into an area that has a fluid collection or abscess (infection). Drainage tubes can be placed in many different locations throughout the body.

Endovascular Repair of Aortic Aneurysms (Stent Graft Repair)

Insertion of a specialized stent made from fabric and wire mesh into the aorta. This stent is designed to reinforce the weak area (aneurysm) in the aorta preventing further damage or rupture.


Delivery of clotting agents (coils, gel foam, plastic particles, etc.) directly to an area that is bleeding, such as a bleeding area of the intestine. In addition these agents are used to block blood flow to problem areas, such as an aneurysm or uterine fibroids.

Epidural Steroid Injection

Injecting steroid medication into a specific location in the spine to provide relief of pain.

Gastrostomy Tube

Feeding tube inserted into the stomach through the skin for patients who are unable to take sufficient food by mouth.

Hemodialysis Access

Obtaining a central venous catheter through which hemodialysis can occur. Hemodialysis is a way to remove toxins from the blood when the kidneys are not functioning correctly.

Lumbar Puncture

Obtaining a sample of cerebral spinal fluid for diagnostic purposes.

Myelogram (Cervical, Thoracic, and/or Lumbar)

Injecting X-ray dye into the spinal canal before a CT scan to diagnose problems with the spine.


Using ultrasound guidance to drain excess fluid from the abdomen for diagnostic testing and/or relief of symptoms.


Putting a medicine or a chemical through a chest tube to scar the layers of tissue on top of the lung so they heal together and prevent further fluid from accumulating on top of the lung.

Tunneled Drainage Catheter Placement (PleurX or Aspira)

Insertion of a tunneled drainage tube into a fluid collection to drain the fluid. Most commonly placed into a fluid collection on top of a lung or into a fluid collection in the abdomen. Tunneling the catheter allows for frequent or repetitive fluid withdrawals.

Radiofrequency Ablation

Use of radiofrequency energy to kill cancerous tumors.

Selective Internal Radiation Therapy

Capital Health physicians are licensed to offer a new FDA-approved treatment to patients with colorectal cancer that has metastasized to the liver. The treatment uses small beads containing radiation that are injected directly into the tumor. SIR-Spheres® microspheres are a medical device used in Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT). By directing high doses of radiation precisely into the tumor, healthy liver tissue can be preserved.

Stent Placement

A small flexible tube make of plastic or wire mesh used to treat a variety of medical conditions. Can be used in blood vessels or other areas that have been blocked or narrowed by tumors or other obstructions.


Using ultrasound guidance to drain excess fluid from the space around the lung for diagnostic testing and /or relief of symptoms.


Using medicine to break up a blood clot. Used in many different ways, including in dialysis catheters, dialysis fistulas or grafts, clotted veins, or clotted arteries.


Removing a blood clot from a blood vessel. Commonly used to treat a blood clot (deep vein thrombosis) that forms in the lower extremities. Can also be used to treat blood clots that form in arteries that block blood flow to tissue and can cause tissue death.

TIPS (Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt)

Procedure to prevent or stop hemorrhage in patients with severe liver dysfunction.

Uterine Artery (Fibroid) Embolization

Embolization of the uterine arteries to stop life-threatening bleeding after a woman gives birth, potentially preventing hysterectomy. Also used to treat uterine fibroids by blocking blood flow to the fibroids.

Venous Ablation (EVLT)

Using laser energy to seal a vein shut. A treatment option for varicose veins.

Vena Cava Filter

Tiny cage-like device that is inserted into a vein to trap blood clots and prevents them from reaching the heart and lungs.

Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty

Injection of bone cement into a fractured vertebral body that stabilizes and alleviates pain.