Interventional Radiology for Medical Devices and Other Procedures
Interventional radiology (IR) is an incredibly broad field. It has given birth to many of the subspecialties found in medicine today. Over the years, the use of many medical devices and minimally invasive techniques have been the domain of IR. Here are some examples of a few of these procedures that don’t easily fit into other categories listed elsewhere on our website.
IVC Filter Placement and Retrieval
A deep venous thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that develops in the large veins draining the muscles and bones of the extremities, or the large veins in the abdomen and pelvis. These clots have the dangerous potential of breaking loose and migrating through the heart into the arteries of the lungs. Once the clot becomes lodged in the lung arteries, it is called a pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolisms are one of the leading causes of death in the hospitals. They often develop when patients are immobilized after surgery or an injury.
An IVC filter is a small wire cage that is placed in the main vein draining the legs and pelvic arteries, called the inferior vena cava. This prevents a DVT from traveling into the lungs and causing acute heart failure. The IVC filter can be placed through a small hole in the neck or groin, under local anesthesia. Almost all of the IVC filters on the market are retrievable, so they can be removed once no longer needed.
IVC filters have been used for decades. The early IVC filters were all permanent. After enough of these filters were deployed, it became apparent that leaving filters in indefinitely led to gradual narrowing of the IVC. This causes lower extremity venous disease. This variety of venous insufficiency can be much more difficult to treat, compared to run-of-the-mill superficial venous disease. For that reason, if an IVC filter has been placed, it is important to have it removed once it is no longer needed.
Venous Port Placement and Removal
Implanted injectable venous ports, commonly referred to as “ports,” have been one of the medical devices most appreciated by patients with cancer, as well as other patients needing routine blood draws and intravenous therapy. A small reservoir, about the size of a half dollar coin, is inserted beneath the skin of the chest and connected to a small tube that is extended into the first chamber of the heart. These allow patents to do away with the constant need for IVs for therapy or butterfly needle insertions for lab draws.
Ports can be placed in less than a half hour, under moderate sedation, and used immediately. When placed using X-ray guidance through the jugular vein, ports have an exceedingly low malfunction rate and can last for years before needing replacement. Once ports are no longer needed, they can be easily removed using local anesthesia.
Portal Hypertension and Gastroesophageal Variceal Management
Many patients suffering from liver disease, such as fibrosis or cirrhosis, will develop high pressure in the veins that drain the spleen and gastrointestinal tract. This is a condition known as portal hypertension, and it can lead to several chronic issues, such as bleeding from dilated veins called varices or altered mental status.
Depending on the situation, there are several procedures available to help the patient, such as the creation of a shunt to reduce portal pressure, or the elimination of a problematic vein by embolization.
Contact us to learn more about all available interventional radiology treatment options.