I am an interventional radiologist, a physician who uses image guidance to perform minimally invasive procedures through small incisions in the skin. Some of the imaging modalities utilized include CT scans, ultrasound, and x-ray/fluoroscopy. These procedures are usually done with moderate intravenous sedation rather than with general anesthesia, thus reducing the time it takes for the patient to recover.
Many of the procedures performed in our section are done from within the blood vessels. For example, we are able to selectively block the arterial blood supply to liver tumors utilizing embolization where tiny particles are injected through small catheters. This helps to destroy the tumor. In addition, filters can be placed into the large abdominal vein called the vena cava, preventing the potentially dangerous upward migration of blood clots from the legs to the lungs. We also place venous access devices, including chest ports and tunneled catheters, so that patients can receive intravenous therapies.