Interventional Radiology - Minimally invasive treatments offer maximum benefits

Today, many conditions that once required surgery can be treated through a minimally invasive procedure. At Haywood Regional Medical Center, our specialists in interventional radiology use X-rays, MRI and other imaging technology to treat diseases and other conditions non-surgically, by moving a catheter through arteries or other blood vessels in your body.

Typically performed on an outpatient basis, interventional radiology treatments result in less risk, less pain and less recovery time compared to open surgery. Our board-certified interventional radiologists provide a range of services including:

  • Abscess Drainage: a catheter (plastic tube) is inserted through a small nick in your skin and directed to the site of an abscess in your body to drain the infection.
  • Balloon Angioplasty: performed to unblock clogged vessels (arteries and veins) in your pelvis, legs, arms, kidneys or other areas. A balloon is placed on the tip of a catheter, then inflated and deflated to reopen the blocked channel, and sometimes a permanent scaffold is placed – a stent – to prevent future re-narrowing.
  • Biliary Drainage: a stent (small tube) is placed to open up blocked ducts in your liver and allow bile to drain normally.
  • Biopsy: can be performed throughout the body (breast, lung, thyroid, abdominal organs and more) using imaging guidance to accurately place a small needle safely and with minimal discomfort, to make a diagnosis.
  • Embolization: excessive bleeding or abnormal blood vessels can be treated by placing a catheter directly into the blood vessel to stop or reduce the blood flow at that site.
  • Fluid removal: a small tube is placed in either the pleural space (around the lung) to drain fluid which has built up (Thoracentesis), or in the abdominal cavity (Paracentesis). Cysts, usually benign but can be uncomfortable when large, may be drained with a small needle or tube.
  • Gastro-Intestinal: a tube can be inserted directly into the stomach (gastrostomy) from the skin, or into small bowel via the stomach (gastro-jejunostomy), if you are unable to take nutrition by mouth, and can be easily removed when no longer needed.
  • Pain Therapy: imaging guidance allows accurate placement of a small needle to introduce medications which will reduce or turn off pain signals coming from irritated nerves or joints.
  • Spinal Procedures:
    • Epidural Steroid Injections: medicine is injected through a needle placed inside the spinal canal using X-rays to guide the procedure – usually either the lower back or the neck - to reduce inflammation of multiple regional nerves which have become irritated.
    • Nerve root injections: medicine is injected through a fine needle very accurately using CT-guidance to the specific irritated nerve where it exits the spine.
    • Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty:  spinal fractures caused by osteoporosis or cancer can be treated to stabilize the fracture (prevent further collapse) and eliminate or greatly reduce the pain caused by the fracture. Vertebroplasty involves injecting bone cement directly into the fractured bone through a needle while you are asleep; Kyphoplasty is similar but also includes inflating a small balloon inside the bone to create a small cavity, the balloon is then removed and the cement in injected into the cavity.  
  • Thrombolysis:  large blood clots can be removed from affected arteries and veins by introducing a catheter directly into the blood vessel when medications alone will not work.
  • Urinary Tract Obstruction: a tube is placed into the kidney (Nephrostomy) and/or ureter (Ureteral Stent) which allows drainage of urine, when there is a blockage.
  • Vena Cava Filter: if there are large blood clots within the pelvic or leg veins, and you cannot be given a blood thinner (the 1st line of treatment) a cage-like device can temporarily or permanently be inserted into the large vein (inferior vena cava) that returns blood from your lower body to your heart to prevent large blood clots from reaching your heart and lungs – possibly a fatal event.