What is Interventional Radiology?
Pediatric interventional radiology, a subspecialty of pediatric radiology, allows doctors to use image guidance (such as real-time x-rays called fluoroscopy, ultrasound, or CT -CAT scan guidance) to perform minimally invasive surgical procedures in children. These procedures can be done through small needles and catheters in virtually any part of the body, and because the incisions are very small, recovery is usually quicker than with traditional surgery. At Cincinnati Children’s, we have five pediatric interventional radiologists who perform these types of procedures in three specially designed operating rooms (interventional radiology labs).
Photo: Fluoroscopy guided procedure
In these specially designed operating rooms, interventional radiologists can navigate very small catheters through the tiniest of blood vessels to treat many different types of diseases. Through these small catheters, the interventional radiologist can inject medicine to treat a tumor or even block off the blood supply to the tumor by injecting tiny particles (called embolization). Alternatively, interventional radiologists can guide small balloon catheters into vessels that are narrowed, and blow up the balloon to open up the narrowing (called angioplasty). This procedure can cure some types of high blood pressure that are caused by narrowing in the blood vessels to the kidneys.
While some procedures are performed through catheters in blood vessels, other procedures can be performed more safely and easily through small needles advanced into the body under image guidance. Through these small needles, samples of tissue can be taken (called “biopsy”) or various medicines can be injected to treat many different types of diseases.
Photo: Interventional radiology research and simulation lab
We are very fortunate also to have an interventional radiology research and simulation lab that has the identical equipment as is in our clinical labs. In this lab interventional radiologists can develop and master new techniques to treat your child. Because our research lab is identical to our clinical labs, any new technology or discovery developed in the research lab can immediately be provided to our patients in our clinical labs so children can be receiving the best and newest treatments available.
For more information about the Division of Interventional Radiology at Cincinnati Children’s, please visit Interventional Radiology. You can also learn more about the Cincinnati Children’s Interventional Radiology Translational Research and Simulation Lab (IR-TRSL).
Contributed by Dr. John Racadio and edited by Wendy Bankes.