It's now possible to diagnose and even treat some cancers by using the minimally-invasive techniques of interventional radiology (IR). These advanced methods can evaluate and remove cancer, or lessen its effects, without traditional open surgery.
Using CT (computed tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), ultrasound or x-ray guidance, IR procedures require only light sedation and are usually performed on an outpatient basis. Although minimally invasive, IR procedures often achieve the same results that previously required major, open surgery.
Interventional radiology aids diagnosis by enabling samples to be taken for analysis while avoiding damage to nearby blood vessels or organs. Similarly, treatments delivered by IR are able to attack cancer in targeted locations without affecting healthy areas.
Several IR procedures are used in cancer treatment. Some are used against the cancer itself. A few treat symptoms caused by the disease or facilitate care.
These IR techniques include:
- Spinal tumor ablation can provide relief to patients with tumors on the spine.
- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), a localized, targeted treatment uses radiofrequency energy heat to destroy tumors by heating them from within.
- Cryoablation destroys cancer cells by freezing them.
- Microwave ablation kills cancer cells with microwave energy.
- Chemoembolization and Radioembolization delivers cancer medications or highly-effective radiotherapy directly to metastatic disease in the liver.
- Kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty stabilizes the spine and lessens pain from spinal fractures caused by cancer.
- Biliary drainage and stenting remove blockages in bile ducts and insert small tubes to keep ducts open and free-flowing.
- Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (also called Radioembolization) treats colon cancer that has metastasized to the liver by delivering tiny radioactive beads directly to liver tumors.
Many cancer patients also have the IR procedure called port insertion, or venous access. This places a tube beneath the skin to allow blood draws or medication delivery without repeated needle sticks.
We have the sophisticated equipment, superb professional staff and medical expertise to perform these leading-edge procedures. Our interventional radiologists are highly trained physicians who use X-ray, ultrasound, MRI and CT imaging to safely guide their work. They have assembled a strong team of professionals in the Interventional Procedure Unit and work collaboratively with the physicians in The Rosenfeld Cancer Center.