Interventional Radiology

Beyond diagnosis.

Interventional radiology is the practice of performing minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat diseases and disorders. We provide a number of these services, which can sometimes help patients avoid more complicated surgical interventions. Patients have less pain and shorter recovery periods.

Common Interventional Radiology Procedures

Our interventional radiologists perform such a wide range of procedures, some of which treat blood vessels (vascular procedures), that it is difficult to list them all. Some common interventional radiology procedures are:

This is the use of CT, ultrasound, MRI or fluoroscopy to precisely locate and evaluate masses or suspicious areas throughout the body. Radiologists use tiny instruments to take small tissue samples that are evaluated for cancer. During a surgical biopsy, radiologists help surgeons locate the mass using a guide wire.
Your provider may request a breast biopsy if a lump or abnormality is found during screening. A biopsy is a very accurate, minimally invasive method of locating and removing tissue for further investigation. Depending on your medical needs, we provide different diagnostic biopsy procedures:

  • Stereotactic biopsy uses mammography to precisely guide clinicians to a lump or abnormality that can’t be felt or seen on ultrasound. Clinicians see a 3D picture of the lump’s exact location.
  • MRI-guided biopsy uses MRI to guide the radiologist to the exact location of the lump. MRI biopsy is usually used when the lump can be seen on breast MRI, but cannot be readily seen on mammogram or ultrasound.

What happens during the procedure?

While the biopsy is performed, you will either remain seated in a comfortable, upright position or you will lie face down on a special table that allows your breast to be placed in an opening. The radiologist performs a core needle or vacuum-assisted biopsy (see below) while your breast is somewhat compressed in the mammographic biopsy system. You can return home in 30 minutes.

  • Vacuum-assisted biopsy devices are used for stereotactic and MRI guided biopsy and selected ultrasound guided biopsies. The device is a special probe that applies suction and allows retrieval of more tissue. Breast tissue is drawn into the sampling chamber of the probe with the vacuum and then cut. Several pieces of tissue are always obtained during biopsies, regardless of the type of needle used.
  • In a core needle biopsy, the radiologist locates the lump or abnormality that can be seen on a mammogram, sonogram or MRI. A hollow core needle is then placed inside the abnormality. The needle will then withdraw a small amount of tissue that will be sent to a lab for analysis. Prior to the procedure, you will be given some local anesthetic similar to the anesthetic used for dental procedures to numb the area. You may feel some pressure and mild discomfort but most patients do not feel pain. The doctor will insert the needle several times to get adequate tissue samples.
Angiography is a common interventional radiology procedure that can help doctors diagnose blockages, bleeding or other disorders in blood vessels throughout the body. During an angiogram, the radiologist inserts a tiny catheter into a blood vessel using a minute puncture in your skin, then injects a dye to make the blood vessels visible during a special type of X-ray called fluoroscopy.