Interventional Radiology (IR) uses minimally invasive, image-guided procedures to treat vascular disease. These treatments pose minimal risk to patients, reduce recovery time and lower costs versus open vascular surgery. Interventional radiologists are medical doctors with 6 or 7 years of additional training following medical school. Interventional radiologists are certified in both diagnostic radiology and endovascular procedures (treatments).
How do endovascular procedures differ from open vascular surgeries?
- Endovascular procedures are conducted in dedicated outpatient clinics rather than in a hospital setting.
- Interventional radiologists specialize in minimally-invasive procedures while vascular surgeons perform open procedures as well.
- Endovascular procedures tend to be shorter and have reduced recovery time, usually discharging the patient on the same day.
- Patients are under moderate sedation during an endovascular procedure while open vascular surgeries usually require general anesthesia.
- Endovascular procedures are less expensive than open vascular surgery.
- Vascular surgeons are trained to treat a variety of vascular conditions which may include offering endovascular procedures. Conversely, some interventional radiologists, including those at Modern Vascular, choose to develop specialized skills in a specific IR treatment.
Types of endovascular procedures
The strategies for treating vascular disease vary based on the severity and the type. Endovascular procedures are not as invasive as other procedures and are much more innovative. The following procedures are common for vascular interventional radiologists to perform.
- Balloon Angioplasty – A very narrow catheter that has a balloon on the tip of it is inserted into the femoral artery of the patient, which is located in the groin. It is guided to the part of the artery that is blocked with the help of x-rays. The balloon is then inflated and deflated a few times with the goal of eliminating the obstruction.
- Stent Placement – If an artery gets closed again after a balloon angioplasty a stent may be placed within the artery in order to keep it unobstructed. Stents are tiny tubes that help support the opening of an artery. They are placed over the balloons, which are inflated in order to cause the stent to expand, then the balloon is deflated and removed, leaving the stent in place.
- Additional Endovascular Procedure Techniques – Interventional radiologists are well-suited to find solutions to new and complex issues that arise. Generally, these problems require more invasive procedures and therapy, but interventional radiologists are always finding new ways to overcome these challenges.
Long-term patient relationships with interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons.
Both interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons have long-term patient relationships and will continue to see patients for follow-up care after treatment. Modern Vascular patients are asked to visit their IR physician for follow-up care 2-4 times per year post-procedure.
Interventional radiology is used to diagnose and treat peripheral artery disease.
Modern Vascular specializes in Peripheral Artery Disease treatment and pedal loop reconstruction. Through its unique training program, doctors who are already skilled and knowledgeable about vascular disease become experts in pedal loop reconstruction and other endovascular approaches to returning blood flow to the feet, placing Modern Vascular doctors among the few who revascularize arteries below the knee, all the way to the pedal loop.
Watch this video to learn more.