Interventional radiologists across the Sutter Health network are highly skilled at the use of catheters and image guidance to diagnose and treat everything from cancer to varicose veins. Many procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis, minimizing pain and recovery time so you can return to regular life quickly. Our specialists offer the latest in diagnostics and treatments, and are helping to develop new minimally invasive treatments for cancer.
Experts in Minimally Invasive Treatments
As we age, it is common to develop hardening of the arteries, usually caused by buildup of plaque, and poor circulation due to inactivity or diseases such as diabetes. We offer a number of minimally invasive solutions.
- Thrombolytic Therapy — A treatment for stroke and deep venous thrombosis (DVT), which can occur when a clot, called a thrombus, blocks blood flow in the brain or deep leg vein. Clot-busting medication is delivered via a catheter. For patients with DVT who cannot have thrombolysis, the interventional radiologist can insert a tiny filter to catch the clot if it breaks loose to prevent pulmonary embolism.
- Angioplasty and Stenting — To treat peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a catheter with a tiny balloon attached is advanced into the blocked or narrowed blood vessel through a small incision in the skin under image guidance until it reaches the blockage, where the balloon is inflated to open the artery.
- Atherectomy — Most often caused by the buildup of plaque in the vessels, PAD is a serious condition that can result in amputation if not treated. You can be screened for the disease using the ankle-brachial index test, which compares blood pressure in the arm and ankle. In addition to angioplasty and stenting, you may be a candidate for atherectomy, in which catheters bearing tiny tools are used to shave plaque from the inside of the arteries under image guidance.
- Testicular Varicocele Treatment — A varicose vein of the testicle or scrotum can impair the valves that facilitate the blood flow, causing it to pool in the vein. A source of pain, shrinking of the testicle and a possible factor in male infertility, the varicocele can be embolized, a minimally invasive treatment that cuts off the blood flow to the defective vein.
- Radiofrequency Ablation — Treatments for varicose veins and venous insufficiency, which occur due to damaged valves that cause blood to pool in the veins and result in leg pain, fatigue and sometimes ulcers. Vein ablation applies radiofrequency energy to seal the vein; sclerotherapy uses a fine needle to inject a fluid that shrinks spider veins and varicose veins; and microphlebectomy removes bulging varicose veins through tiny incisions in the leg using specially designed tools, all done under local anesthesia in about an hour or less.
- Chemoembolization — A minimally invasive treatment for liver and lung cancer that delivers a dose of chemotherapy directly to the affected organ
- Cryoablation — A needle is inserted through the skin directly into the tumor in the liver, lung, kidney or bone to apply a small amount of extremely cold gas, which forms an ice ball around a tumor to kill it.
- Radioembolization with Yttrium-90 — Tiny beads containing the radiopharmaceutical Yttrium-90 are injected into the artery supplying the liver with blood to apply radiation directly to liver cancer, minimizing exposure to healthy tissue.
- Radiofrequency Ablation — Use of a needle to apply radiofrequency energy directly to a tumor to kill cancer cells in inoperable liver, kidney, lung and bone cancer.
- Dialysis Access — For patients with kidney disease expected to need dialysis, a central venous catheter may be inserted to facilitate the dialysis process.
- Uterine Fibroid Embolization — Benign tumors that commonly develop in the walls of the uterus can be treated using a catheter to insert tiny particles into the uterine artery to cut off blood flow to the tumor and shrink the fibroid.
- Vertebroplasty — Used to stabilize and treat the pain associated with vertebral compression fractures through the injection of specially formulated bone cement directly into the spine.
In Your Corner
Women often put the health of others ahead of their own health needs. In the Sutter Health network, we help you prioritize your health, offering a wide range of women’s health services.