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Interventional radiology

Interventional radiologists are specialists trained in using image-guided technology, such as X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to perform minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat various cancers. Interventional radiology procedures may reduce risk, pain and recovery time for patients.

Examples of interventional radiology procedures include transarterial chemoembolization to cut off the blood supply to a tumor, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and microwave ablation to heat and destroy cancerous cells and kyphoplasty/vertebroplasty to treat compression fractures of the spinal vertebrae.

Interventional radiology may also be used to manage metastatic disease from a variety of cancers, including those of the breast, colon, rectum, gallbladder, pancreas, lung, esophagus and stomach, as well as melanoma and sarcoma.

Most interventional radiology procedures may be performed on an outpatient basis or during a short hospital stay. Common interventional radiology procedures include:

Tumor ablation procedures: These minimally invasive treatments may destroy tissue using extreme temperatures. Ablation may be used to treat tumors or alleviate symptoms. Examples of ablation procedures are radiofrequency ablation and microwave ablation.

Liver-directed therapies: Targeted treatment is delivered directly to liver tumors, sparing nearby healthy tissue and reducing some side effects. Some therapies used to treat liver tumors include Yttrium-90 radioembolization and chemoembolization.

Vascular work: This treatment uses minimally invasive techniques to place stents, stop bleeding and block the flow of blood to or from tumor tissue to support chemotherapy and radiation therapy response.

Drainage catheters: Fluid retention is a common side effect of some types of cancer. Catheters are used to drain excess fluid and relieve uncomfortable symptoms.

Port and PICC Line Placement: Many patients are given temporary ports and PICC lines to reduce the number of needle pricks during chemotherapy treatment or diagnostic blood work.

Bone and joint pain management: A variety of bone and joint injections, nerve blocks and fracture management techniques may be used to provide relief from pain.