Interventional Radiology (IR) is an innovative area of medicine that has led to breakthrough therapies across multiple medical conditions, but many patients don’t know much about it. In this guide, we’ll provide an overview of interventional radiology and share more about the many conditions treated and IR therapies offered at Beach Wellness MD.
What is Interventional Radiology?
An interventional radiologist is a board-certified fellowship-trained, physician specially trained in the use of imaging guidance to deliver minimally invasive treatments. Imaging used in interventional radiology can include X-ray, Computed tomography (CT), or ultrasound technologies for targeted treatments.
Interventional radiology is used in the treatment of many health conditions including vascular disease (occluded arteries, aneurysms, venous disease), spinal fractures, fibroid treatment, enlarged prostate treatment, arthritis, chronic pain, kidney failure, and many more.
Interventional radiologists use a tiny needle (under US guidance) to obtain access to the patients’ vascular system (arteries or veins). Various catheters (tiny tubes) and wires are directed through the body’s blood vessels, using imaging guidance, to target the affected portion of the body (blocked artery, tumor, aneurysm).
To become an interventional radiologist, a high level of training is required. A physician must be fellowship-trained and board-certified. An interventional radiologist must first graduate from an accredited medical school, pass a medical license exam, and successfully complete a medical residency. Following a residency, a physician must complete at least one year of fellowship training from an accredited training program in interventional radiology. The American Board of Radiology (ABR) provides double-board certification in Diagnostic Radiology and in Vascular and Interventional Radiology.
Benefits of Interventional Treatments
Patients can expect a number of benefits from an interventional radiology treatment when compared to traditional open surgery. IR procedures offer a less invasive treatment approach than an open surgery which can mean less risk and less pain with a shorter recovery time.
Some people have questions or concerns about radiation safety in IR procedures. For any medical imaging or procedure, radiation is not without risk. But it’s important to know that modern advancements in medical imaging mean that the minimum amount of radiation required for treatment is used and treatment is hyper-targeted to minimize exposure.
Additionally, the comprehensive training required to become an interventional radiologist includes radiation safety and risk mitigation.
Conditions Treated at Beach Wellness MD
At Beach Wellness MD, we treat a number of conditions using the latest interventional radiology techniques.
Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) occurs when arteries become narrowed or blocked, causing reduced blood flow to the arms and legs. This can lead to pain and discomfort, and it increases the risk of developing some more serious health conditions.
Fortunately, IR offers several minimally invasive treatment options to treat PAD that can help open narrowed arteries and restore needed blood flow, reducing symptoms.
Balloon Angioplasty: In this minimally-invasive IR treatment, a tiny needle is inserted into the artery and a catheter is placed through the needle. Fluoroscopy, which is specialized X-ray imaging, is used to guide access to the blocked artery. A balloon is inflated to open the artery and restore blood flow. Stenting is also sometimes used with balloon angioplasty.
Atherectomy: This IR procedure uses a special tool to remove plaque from arteries, resolving the blockage that is hampering blood flow. It is sometimes used with balloon angioplasty.
Stenting: A stent is a tube-shaped wire mesh that is designed to hold open blocked arteries. Stents to treat PAD are placed using interventional radiology techniques.
Uterine Fibroids are noncancerous growths in the uterus. Some women have no symptoms from them, while others experience pelvic pain, excessive bleeding, fertility issues, and other problems. In the past, fibroids were primarily treated with invasive surgeries, like myomectomy or even a total hysterectomy. Now, however, we are able to treat many fibroids using minimally invasive IR treatments.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization is a non-surgical procedure in which a thin catheter is inserted into an artery near the fibroid’s blood supply. Small particles are released from the catheter that blocks the vessels supplying blood to the fibroid, depriving it of nutrients. The fibroids will die and shrink while leaving the remainder of the uterus intact. Multiple fibroids can be treated with this IR procedure.
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS) is a lesser-known health condition that nevertheless affects a large number of women and causes pelvic pain that can have a negative impact on the quality of life. Healthy veins have valves that shut keeping blood moving towards the heart. Diseased veins have leaky valves leading to the pooling of blood. In pelvic congestion syndrome, some of the veins in the pelvis develop leaky valves leading to the pooling of blood. This leads to enlarged, painful veins in the pelvis.
PCS can be treated through an interventional radiology technique known as embolization. X-ray imaging and contrast material are used to visualize the leaky veins in the pelvis which are closed off using coils (embolization).
Varicose Veins and Spider Veins
Varicose veins are caused by weakened or damaged valves (healthy valves shut keeping the blood moving up towards the heart) leading to blood pooling within the veins. Varicose veins have a protruding and twisted appearance. Spider veins are smaller, with a thin, weblike appearance.
Both varicose veins and spider veins can be addressed with nonsurgical IR treatments that use injectable medications to collapse diseased veins. Blood is rerouted to healthy veins and the treated (varicose and spider) veins heal shut after treatment.
About Dr. Ali Golshan
Ali Golshan, MD, is a double board-certified leading vascular expert who specializes in in-office, minimally-invasive interventional radiology treatments at Beach Wellness MD. Dr. Golshan devotes personalized attention to each patient to develop an individualized treatment plan.
Dr. Golshan graduated summa cum laude as valedictorian from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) with a Bachelor of Science in molecular biology. He then earned a Master of Business Administration from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a Doctorate of Medicine from the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Dr. Golshan completed a residency in radiology at UCLA and a fellowship in interventional radiology at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Consult an Interventional Radiologist!
At Beach Wellness MD, we focus on improving your quality of life through the latest in minimally invasive interventional radiology treatments. We emphasize one-on-one treatment and design personalized care plans for each patient.
Call (310) 620-1851 or contact us online today to schedule your appointment.