Patient Q & A
What is Interventional Radiology?
Interventional Radiology is a sub-specialty of Radiology in which doctors undergo an additional year of training, called a Fellowship, after the four-year Diagnostic Radiology residency. During the Fellowship, these specialists become experts at diagnosing and treating many diseases in the body by using tiny instruments they insert into the vascular system (the arteries and veins). They are able to accurately, precisely place these instruments using special x-ray image-guidance, called flouroscopy, and treat the disease at the source of the problem.
How are minimally invasive techniques different from open surgery?
Minimally invasive treatment usually occurs in an office-based environment, and can be performed under mild anesthesia, often referred to as conscious sedation. Access to the vascular system is made through a tiny incision, about the size of a grain of rice, so there is no disruption to underlying muscle tissue, as there is in an open surgery. Because of this, discomfort is minimal, recovery time is greatly reduced, and patients can go home the same day. Most are back to their routine in 1-3 days.
Open surgery, on the other hand, is usually performed in a hospital, and usually requires general anesthesia, intubation, and large incisions. Post-surgical pain is common, and recovery can take weeks.
Given the choice, most patients prefer a minimally invasive treatment option.
How long do these procedures take?
Plan to arrive an hour prior to your scheduled procedure for preparation. The procedure itself will last from thirty minutes to a couple of hours. Then, you will recover for a few hours. Total time at our clinic on the day of your procedure is usually four to six hours.
Will I feel pain?
You will receive a local anesthetic to numb the area, and mild anesthesia (conscious sedation) to keep you comfortable during the procedure. Discomfort is generally very minimal. You will be monitored continuously before, during, and after the procedure to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible.
Should I take my medications on the day of the procedure?
Most medications should be taken on the morning of your procedure with a sip of water. However, every treatment plan is different. Our care team will instruct you on your medication plan.
Can I eat or drink before the procedure?
No food or drink should be taken after midnight the evening prior to the procedure. Our car team will review instructions with you prior to the procedure to make sure you understand.
Can I drive home after the procedure?
No. You may still feel a little sleepy after the procedure, so we will release you into the care of a responsible adult, who will receive the discharge instructions on your behalf. You should plan to have a friend or family member do this for you, and drive you home.
What happens after my procedure?
We will communicate the results of your procedure to the doctor who referred you to us. We will schedule for a follow-up visit at our office to review the results with you, and plan the next step in your recovery.