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Vascular Interventional Radiology

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Why Vascular Interventional Radiology (VIR)?

Vascular Interventional Radiology treats complex conditions like cancer and heart disease, as well as enlarged prostates and uterine fibroids. Using advanced imaging, our experts can see inside the human body and provide treatment less invasively and with unmatched precision.

VIR Procedures

Prostatic Artery Embolization (PAE)

Do you experience frequent urination, urgency to urinate, difficulty urinating or inability to fully empty your bladder? You may have benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) which is diagnosed by exam and laboratory tests. We offer a minimally invasive procedure called prostatic artery embolization (PAE) which blocks the blood flow to specific areas of the prostate, shrinking the prostate gland, alleviating symptoms. This procedure is less painful and has less recovery time than surgery and does not carry the sexual side effects of invasive surgery.

Nonsurgical Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are extremely common benign (noncancerous) tumors that grow in the uterus. According to a study in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology1, 80 to 90 percent of African American women and 70 percent of white women will develop uterine fibroids by age 50. While uterine fibroids are not cancer, they can cause problems for some women. 

By using the power of advanced imaging (ultrasound, X-rays, CAT scans, MRI scans and other innovative methods), vascular interventional radiologists can see inside your body and treat complex conditions—even cardiovascular disease and cancer—less invasively and with unprecedented precision.

Surgeon analysing a scan

Symptoms to Consider

It may be time to consider treatment if you have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Unpredictable periods
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Extreme pain
  • Sexual issues

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)

UFE is a minimally invasive procedure performed by a vascular interventional radiologist (VIR). The VIR threads a catheter through a tiny incision in your wrist or groin. Once the catheter is in place, the IR sends tiny particles through it to block the small blood vessels that feed blood to the fibroids. Without a blood supply, the uterine fibroids shrink. They may disappear completely, or they may shrink to the point where you no longer experience symptoms.

Advantages of UFE

UFE has some advantages over other treatment options:

  • Nonsurgical treatment with lower risk of complications.
  • Minimally invasive procedure.
  • Preserves the uterus and may preserve fertility.
  • Shorter recovery time than traditional surgery.
  • Unlikely to cause early menopause.
  • Fast symptom relief.
  • Minimal blood loss through small incision.

UFE usually takes from one to three hours. After the procedure, a nurse will bandage your incision and you will be on bed rest for at least six hours. You may stay overnight in the hospital for observation. For up to 12 hours following UFE, you may experience moderate to severe pelvic pain, which can be controlled with medication.

You should be able to return to your usual activities in seven to 10 days. As the fibroids break down, you may have vaginal bleeding that may last a couple of weeks, but in some cases, it can last for several months.

To find out more visit: The fibroid fix: What women need to know.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, most likely in the lower leg, thigh or pelvis. Below are symptoms of DVT. Note that the symptoms occur where the blood clot has formed (leg, arm, etc.).

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Warmth
  • Changes in the color of your skin
  • Heaviness
  • Itching
  • Numbness

Dangers of DVT

DVT becomes dangerous if a blood clot breaks away from the location where it formed and travels to your lungs, causing a blockage. This is called pulmonary embolism (PE), and it can be fatal. With PE, you may experience:

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Chest pain that worsens when coughing.
  • A faster than normal or irregular heartbeat.
  • Lightheadedness, fainting.
  • Coughing up blood.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 50 percent of the time, people with DVT develop post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS), which results when DVT causes long-term damage to the valves in the veins. Symptoms of PTS include pain, swelling, discoloration, scaling of the skin and ulcers. In some cases, PTS can lead to permanent disability.

How is DVT Treated?

One of the most common ways to treat DVT is with blood thinning medication. However, some people do not tolerate these medications well, or they still have serious symptoms from DVT even on blood thinners. If blood thinners are a problem for you, you should consider other treatment options.

At ChristianaCare, our vascular interventional radiologists have expertise in the latest methods of treating DVT using x-ray technology and catheters – thin, flexible tubes that are threaded through a vein to the blood clot. Once the catheter is in place, the vascular interventional radiologist may employ one or more of the following methods to treat your DVT:

Your Procedure

  • Place a stent in the blood vessel to keep it open.
  • Perform a venous thrombectomy to remove the blood clot using suction devices.
  • Perform a balloon angioplasty to open a narrowing blood vessel (called stenosis).
  • Insert a vena cava filter into a vein to catch blood clots that can break free and travel through the bloodstream.
  • Send a medication called a thrombolytic to the blood clot to dissolve it Thrombolytics can cause sudden, severe bleeding; for this reason, they are only prescribed in extreme cases.

More Procedures

Cancer Treatment

We currently offer advanced treatments for liver, kidney and lung cancer; chemoembolization, radioembolization (SIRT), cryoablation, microwave ablation and Irreversible electroporation (Nano knife). To find out more visit: Cancer.

Chronic Pelvic Pain

This can be caused when the veins in the ovaries and pelvis become enlarged, known as varicose veins. If the valves in the veins become damaged it can cause the vein to swell and become painful, when this occurs in the pelvis it is referred to as pelvic congestion syndrome.

Vascular interventional Radiologist can perform a procedure from a small catheter inserted into your groin vein. From this catheter dye is used to locate the area needing treatment then embolization particles are used to stop blood flow to the effected vein and relieve the painful symptoms.

To find out more visit: Chronic pelvic pain (pelvic congestion syndrome).

Virtual Interventional Labs Tour

Having a Procedure and want to Learn More before Coming In?

Visit our Virtual Interventional Labs Tour.

To learn more about vascular interventional radiology, including detailed information and videos about procedures and treatments, visit The Society of Interventional Radiology.

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Contact Us

ChristianaCare Vascular Interventional Radiology

Center for Heart & Vascular Health
4755 Ogletown-Stanton Road, Suite 1E20,
Newark, DE 19713