Interventional radiology offers an alternative to open surgical procedures and helps address an array of cardiac and other medical conditions. Interventional radiology uses x-rays, ultrasound, CT scans or other imaging techniques to guide tiny tubes, wires or other very small instruments through small openings in the skin.

Diagnostic cardiology exams can identify if a patient has a blocked artery in the heart and the degree of the blockage. This can help cardiologists on the medical staff make an evaluation.

The Interventional Radiology Suite at Texas Health Allen has a bi-plane system that significantly decreases exam time and risk to the patient by allowing radiologists on the medical staff to see in three dimensions at the same time. With this technology, patients are generally given half the amount of contrast typically administered for routine radiology procedures.

Several procedures can be performed in the interventional radiology suite, including:

Angiography: Also called arteriography, is a test that uses X-rays and a special dye to see inside the arteries and veins to help detect a blockage or narrowing of the vessels. It can be used to see arteries in the heart, brain, kidney, and many other parts of the body.

Angioplasty and angioplasty with vascular stenting: Minimally invasive procedures performed to improve blood flow in the body's arteries.

In angioplasty, imaging techniques are used to guide a balloon-tipped catheter, a long, thin plastic tube, into an artery and advance it to where the vessel is narrow or blocked. The balloon is then inflated to open the vessel, deflated and removed. In vascular stenting, which is often performed with angioplasty, a small wire mesh tube called a stent is permanently placed in the newly opened artery to help it remain open.

Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty: Minimally invasive spinal procedures that use image guidance to inject a special cement mixture through a needle into fractured or broken vertebra. The procedures are used to help stabilize and strengthen the spinal column which helps relieve pain.

Uterine fibroid embolization: A minimally invasive procedure for the treatment of fibroids in the uterus. Physicians on the medical staff use image guidance to place a synthetic material inside the blood vessels that supply the fibroid tumors with blood. As a result, the vessels close and the fibroid tissue shrinks which helps relieve symptoms.

Vascular access procedure: A procedure that involves the insertion of a catheter into a blood vessel to provide a painless way of drawing blood or delivering drugs and nutrients into a patient's bloodstream over a period of weeks, months or even years.

Patient Information
To learn more about specific interventional radiology procedures and what to expect, please go to the Society of Interventional Radiology, RadiologyInfo, a website provided by the American College of Radiology and the Radiological Society of North America, or the American College of Radiology.

The Patient Order Form is needed for all outpatient exams.

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