Interventional Radiology

CHA's Interventional Radiology Suite

Interventional Radiology is a medical sub-specialty of radiology utilizing minimally-invasive image-guided procedures using the latest technology to diagnose and treat diseases in nearly every organ system.

The concept behind interventional radiology is to diagnose and treat patients using the least invasive techniques currently available in order to minimize risk to the patient and improve health outcomes. These procedures have less risk, less pain and less recovery time compared to open surgery.


How do I prepare for the procedure and what can I expect?

Most interventional procedures will require some preparation though instructions will vary depending on the type of procedure to be performed. When your healthcare provider schedules your appointment, you will be given specific instructions to follow. In most cases, you will need to be accompanied and arrange for transportation following the procedure. In some cases, an overnight stay in the hospital may be required.

How will I know the results of the procedure?

Following your exam, the interventional radiologist will analyze and interpret the images from your exam and prepare a full report. This report will be sent directly to your physician who will share the results with you. To request a copy of the report, you may contact your physician's office.

How do I schedule an appointment?

When your physician orders an interventional radiology procedure for you, the physician's office will contact the Interventional Radiology Department and make the arrangements.

Common Interventional Procedures

A Sample of Common Interventional Procedures

Angiography

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

Balloon Angioplasty

Opens blocked or narrowed blood vessels by inserting a very small balloon into the vessel and inflating it. Used by Interventional Radiologist to unblock clogged arteries in the legs or arms (called peripheral vascular disease or PVD), kidneys (a cause of hypertension), or elsewhere in the body.

Biliary Drainage and Stenting

Uses a stent (small mesh tube) to open up blocked ducts and allow bile to drain from the liver.

Central Venous Access

Insertion of a tube beneath the skin and into the blood vessels so that patients can receive medication or nutrients directly into the blood stream to allow blood withdrawal.

Chemoembolization

Delivery of cancer-fighting agents directly to the site of a cancer tumor, currently being used mostly to treat cancers of the endocrine system and liver cancers.

Embolization

Delivery of clotting agents (coils, plastic particles, gel foam, etc.) directly to an area that is bleeding such as a bleeding intestine or to block blood flow to a problem area, such as an aneurysm or a fibroid tumor in the uterus.

Gastrostomy Tube

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

Hemodialysis Access

Use of central venous access in order to place a catheter that can be used for dialysis.

Paracentesis

Using ultrasound guidance to drain excess fluid from the abdomen for diagnostic tests and/or symptomatic relief

Radiofrequency (RF) Ablation

Use of radiofrequency (RF) energy to kill cancerous tumors.

Stent

A small flexible tube made of plastic or wire mesh, used to treat a variety of medical conditions (e.g., to hold open clogged blood vessels or other pathways that have been narrowed or blocked by tumors or obstructions).

Stent-graft

Reinforces a ballooning section of an artery (an aneurysm) with a fabric-wrapped stent; a small, flexible mesh tube used to "patch" the blood vessel. Also known as an endograft.

Thoracentesis

Using ultrasound guidance to drain excess fluid from around the lung for diagnostic tests and/or symptomatic relief

Thrombolysis

Dissolves blood clots by injecting clot-busting drugs at the site of the clot.

TIPS (Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt)

A life-saving procedure to prevent or stop hemorrhage in patients with severe liver dysfunction.

Uterine Artery Embolization

An embolization procedure of uterine arteries to stop life-threatening postpartum bleeding, potentially preventing hysterectomy. The same procedure is used to treat fibroid tumors and is then called UFE (Uterine Fibroid Embolization).

Varicocele Embolization

A treatment for "varicose veins" in the scrotum, which can cause infertility and pain.

Vena Cava Filter

A tiny cage-like device that is inserted in a blood vessel to trap clots and prevent them from reaching the heart or lungs.

Vertrebroplasty and Kyphoplasty

Injection of bone cement into a fractured vertebral body. This stabilizes the fracture and alleviates pain. These fractures are commonly caused by osteoporosis.

Varicose Vein Treatment

Do you suffer from varicose veins?

Varicose veins are part of an underlying process called chronic venous insufficiency. This occurs when the valves in your veins, which normally prevent blood from refluxing in the leg, become damaged. As a result, blood stagnates instead of flowing back to the heart. This can lead to symptoms like leg heaviness and pain, varicose veins, brawny skin changes and, in severe cases, ulcers on the legs.

Treatment in Interventional Radiology

The CHA Interventional Radiology team helps patients with chronic venous insufficiency. Our trained Radiologists and Vascular Surgeons shut down damaged veins using laser energy – a procedure called Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT). This lets the body form new venous channels in which blood can flow back to the heart in a normal way.

Any patient with leg heaviness or pain, especially after walking or standing for a long time, varicose veins, skin changes, and/or ulcerations can be evaluated in our IR clinic.

We start with an ultrasound to see if your symptoms are cause by damaged veins. If we see reflux on imaging, we typically start treatment with compression stockings and over-the-counter pain medications. If the symptoms persist after this conservative therapy, then we proceed with the EVLT procedure.

    Contact Us

  • Cambridge Hospital

    1493 Cambridge St. Cambridge, MA 02139

    Outpatient Hours

    M - F: 8 am - 4 pm

  • CHA Everett Hospital

    103 Garland St. Everett, MA 02149

    Outpatient Hours

    M - F: 8 am - 4 pm