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Specially trained interventional radiologists use imaging guidance such as ultrasound, x-ray, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to perform minimally invasive procedures such as
- Angioplasty: Angioplasty (non-cardiac) can be used to treat narrowed or blocked arteries or veins throughout the body. The interventional radiologist uses a small catheter to reach the affected area and repair the problem.
- Vascular Stenting: Vascular stenting, which is often performed at the same time as an angioplasty, involves the placement of a small wire mesh tube called a stent in the newly opened artery.
- Biopsies: A biopsy is when a sample of tissue is removed and examined for disease. If a small amount of tissue is needed for evaluation, the interventional radiologist can use a small needle to collect the sample directly through the skin. Breast and thyroid biopsies are the most common biopsies performed by interventional radiologists.
- Embolizations: Embolization is a minimally invasive treatment that uses various solutions, materials, or other agents that occlude or block blood vessels or vascular abnormalities. Embolizations are often done to shrink a tumor or growth by "starving" it of its blood supply.
- Ablations: Radiofrequency ablation uses high-frequency electrical currents to destroy abnormal cells. It is often used to destroy tumors such as those in the kidney, liver and lungs.
- Sclerotherapy: Sclerotherapy is a type of embolization procedure most often used to treat varicose and spider veins. A solution is injected directly into the affected veins, causing them to shrink and eventually disappear.
- Abscess Drainage: Percutaneous abscess drainage requires the interventional radiologist to use imaging guidance to drain infected fluid (abscess) from an area of the body such as the chest, abdomen or pelvis.
Most interventional radiology procedures are done on an outpatient basis and, depending on the procedure, generally use either a local anesthetic or a mild sedative.
A subspecialty within Interventional Radiology is the Neurointerventional Radiologist who uses minimally invasive techniques to treat stroke and other abnormalities of the brain. Mount Sinai has been designated as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, and as such, is prepared to perform interventions that can treat clots and other critical abnormalities of the brain.