For patients preparing to undergo long-term dialysis, the interventional radiologist performs minor surgery on a vein and artery to create a permanent portal. The portal allows blood to be removed from the body to be filtered during dialysis.
A catheter is inserted into a vein to allow doctors to deliver medication or other treatments. The catheter can be left in place for a long time for repeated treatments.
Using imaging guidance, the interventional radiologist inserts tiny needles into the affected organ to remove tissue for further study. The procedure is a minimally invasive alternative to "open" surgery to remove tissue samples.
Transjugular liver biopsy
Traditional liver biopsy involves inserting a needle through the skin to obtain tissue samples. This can cause the liver to bleed - a concern for patients with fluid in the liver or abdomen or those with blood-clotting problems.
With transjugular biopsy, the interventional radiologist inserts a catheter into the jugular vein in the neck and guides the catheter to the liver. A needle is inserted into the catheter to take the tissue samples. Any bleeding from the tissue sample removal occurs inside the blood vessel, rather than in the abdominal cavity.
Vena cava filters
An umbrella-shaped filter is inserted into the vena cava - a large vein that carries blood up from the lower extremities - to prevent a blood clot from traveling to the lungs. The interventional radiologist inserts the collapsed filter via a catheter and deploys the filter when it's in place.
The treatment is used for patients who have deep-vein thrombosis (a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in the lower legs), or problems with anticoagulation medication.