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 using tiny instruments that they insert into the vascular system (the arteries and veins). They can accurately and precisely place these instruments using special x-ray image guidance, called fluoroscopy, allowing them to 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 open surgery. Because of this, discomfort is minimal, recovery time is significantly reduced, and patients can go home the same day. Most patients are back to their routine in 1-3 days.
On the other hand, open surgery is usually performed in a hospital and requires general anesthesia, intubation, and large incisions. Post-surgical pain is common, and recovery can take weeks.
When given a choice, most patients prefer a minimally invasive treatment option.
How long do these procedures take?
Plan to arrive an hour before your scheduled procedure for preparation. The procedure itself will last from thirty minutes to a couple of hours, depending on the type of procedure and its complexity. After your procedure is complete, you will spend a couple of hours in recovery while our staff monitors your healing. 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 ensure that you are as comfortable as possible.
Should I take my medications on the day of the procedure?
You should take most of your regular medications the morning of your procedure with a small sip of water. Certain medications, such as medications used to control diabetes, should not be taken the same day as your procedure. Additionally, you may need to stop taking some medications for several days after your procedure. Every treatment plan is different. Our care team will instruct you on your specific medication plan at your appointment before your procedure.
Can I eat or drink before the procedure?
No food or drink should be taken after midnight the evening before your procedure. Our care team will review instructions with you before the procedure to make sure you fully 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 will need to arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home after your procedure.
What happens after my procedure?
We will communicate the results of your procedure to the doctor who referred you to us. We will schedule you for a follow-up visit at our office to check how the incision site from your procedure is healing and to plan the next step in your recovery.