Interventional Radiology | Techniques and Diagnosis | Loyola Medicine

Interventional Radiology

Minimally Invasive Techniques to Diagnose and Treat Diseases

Loyola Medicine offers state-of-the-art, minimally invasive interventional radiology techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in nearly every organ system. Loyola’s expert interventional radiologists provide targeted treatment options for patients using the least invasive techniques and the most advanced imaging techniques currently available, in order to provide excellent patient outcomes and reduce the risk of surgical complications for patients. 

Typically, interventional radiology combines advanced imaging—such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT scan (computed tomography), X-rays, ultrasound or fluoroscopy—with the use of specially designed catheters inserted into the body (usually an artery) through only a small puncture. Interventional techniques are able to treat the source of disease internally and offer patients less pain and shorter recovery time as compared to traditional open surgery.

Loyola’s expert radiologists are recognized nationally for clinical excellence, innovative diagnostic and therapeutic methods and skilled use of the latest technology. Our experienced interventional radiology specialists treat a wide range of diseases in the musculoskeletal system, vascular system, pulmonary system, and abdomen. Our experienced technologists and nurses provide testing in a caring and compassionate environment where we want you to feel comfortable asking any questions you may have about your test or procedure.

Why Choose Loyola for Interventional Radiology?

Loyola’s interventional radiologists are all board-certified radiologists with advanced training in image-guided procedures and subspecialty certification in interventional radiology from the American Board of Radiology. 

As an academic medical center, Loyola radiology provides compassionate, comprehensive care to patients and trains future leaders in advanced imaging technology and interventional therapeutics. Loyola takes a multidisciplinary approach to patient care and provides support services for patients and families. Your entire Loyola healthcare team has one goal: restoring you to better health.

What is Interventional Radiology?

Loyola’s interventional radiology team offers innovative treatments using state-of-the-art techniques. Our specialists use MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT scan (computed tomography), X-rays, ultrasound and fluoroscopy to provide minimally invasive treatment options for patients with a wide range of conditions and diseases. 

We offer the latest interventional radiology treatments, including:

  • Angiography — Your doctor may use angiography to diagnose blockages, aneurysms, cerebral vascular disease, blood vessel malformations and other blood vessel abnormalities, such as peripheral vascular disease or renal hypertension. Using X-ray imaging, your doctor will guide a catheter to the affected blood vessel and inject a contrast dye to make the artery or vein visible on the X-ray image. 
  • Balloon angioplasty — For patients with clogged arteries in the arms, legs, kidneys, or elsewhere, your doctor may use balloon angioplasty to open the clogged arteries. After inserting a very small balloon into the affected vessel, your doctor will inflate the balloon to enlarge the opening of the vessel, allowing blood to flow more easily. Learn more about angioplasty.
  • Biliary drainage and stenting — In this procedure, your doctor will use a stent (a small tube designed to keep the vessel open) to open blocked liver ducts, allowing bile to drain properly. 
  • Bland embolization — For patients with liver cancer, bland embolization may be used to treat tumors that cannot be surgically removed. This treatment may be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
  • Central venous access — For patients needing frequent injections of medication directly into the bloodstream—such as antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs or fluids—central venous access involves the placement of a small, flexible tube in a large vein in the chest or neck. 
  • Chemoembolization — In this treatment, chemotherapy drugs and an embolic agent are injected directly into the blood vessel feeding a cancerous tumor. This treatment is used most often to fight tumors of the liver that cannot be surgically removed or treated with radiofrequency ablation; it is also used to treat lung cancer.
  • Cryoablation — This treatment, which is delivered directly to the tumor, kills cancer cells with extreme cold, and may be recommended as the primary method of treatment for cancers in the kidneys, liver, lungs or prostate. It can also be used to relieve the pain caused by cancers that have spread to the bones or other organs. 
  • Embolization — For the treatment of aneurysms, fibroid tumors or bleeding, embolization may be used to deliver treatment to the problem area. This therapy can stop bleeding or shrink the size of a tumor.
  • Endovenous ablation — For patients with varicose veins, this minimally invasive treatment uses ultrasound imaging and a catheter to deliver laser or radiofrequency energy to the inside of the vein and seal it closed.

  • Gastrostomy — For patients who are unable to take medication or nutrition by mouth, a catheter may be inserted into the stomach or small intestine to deliver necessary fluids and medications.  
  • Inferior vena cava filter — For patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a filter may be placed in the inferior vena cava to break up blood clots and prevent them from reaching the heart or lungs. This may be a helpful treatment for patients who cannot take blood thinners or if previous treatments have been unsuccessful. 
  • Microwave ablation — Your doctor may recommend microwave ablation as one method of treatment for targeting cancer cells and relieving pain. Using ultrasound guidance, a microwave antenna is placed inside a tumor, sending heat to destroy diseased cells and tissue. 
  • Needle biopsy — With the use of imaging—such as CT scan (computed tomography), fluoroscopy, ultrasound or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)—your doctor guides a fine needle into the tumor to obtain a small sample of tissue for testing. Needle biopsies are less painful, less disfiguring and require less recovery time than conventional biopsies. Needle biopsies may be used to detect cancers of the breast, lungs, liver, kidney and bone, among others.
  • Paracentesis — For the purposes of symptomatic relief or diagnostic testing, your doctor may use ultrasound imaging to guide a hollow needle to the abdomen to drain excess fluid. 
  • Radioembolization — For the treatment of liver cancer, radioembolization may be used to deliver radiation therapy and an embolic agent directly into the blood vessel feeding a cancerous tumor. This therapy may be used in the treatment of both primary and metastatic liver cancers. 
  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) — Radiofrequency ablation is often used in the treatment of cancer when surgery is not possible for bone, kidney, lung, liver and prostate cancers. Using this procedure, cancer cells are destroyed using electrical energy and heat. 
  • Stent and graft placement — For patients experiencing chronic kidney stones, blocked or narrowed blood vessels, renal vascular hypertension or a urinary tract obstruction, your Loyola doctor can often provide nonsurgical treatment by inserting a stent or catheter to restore function.
  • Thoracentesis — For the purposes of symptomatic relief or diagnostic testing, your doctor may use ultrasound imaging to guide a hollow needle to the lungs to drain excess fluid. This procedure may be used to diagnose pleural effusion.  
  • Thrombolysis — Thrombolysis is an effective treatment for the dissolution of blood clots in order to improve blood flow and prevent damage to organs and tissues. Clot-dissolving medication is injected at the site of the clot. 
  • TIPS (transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt) — For patients with severe liver disease, TIPS can be a life-saving procedure that improves blood flow and prevents or stops hemorrhage through the use of a catheter guided to the site of portal hypertension or bile duct obstruction and inserting a stent.
  • Tumor ablation — Ablation is a nonsurgical approach to the treatment of cancer, using imaging technology to allow for precision in the heating and destruction of cancerous tissue.
  • Uterine artery embolization (UAE) — UAE is a minimally invasive treatment for uterine fibroids in which embolic agents are injected into the uterine arteries through a catheter. This procedure cuts off the blood supply to the fibroids, causing them to shrink and is likely to relieve pain, pressure and bleeding resulting from fibroids. This procedure may also be called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE).
  • Varicocele embolization — This nonsurgical, image-guided procedure uses a catheter to divert blood away from a varicose vein in the scrotum, improving male sperm quality and relieving pain. 
  • Vertebroplasty — For patients with spine instability or tumors compressing on the spinal cord, your Loyola interventional radiologist may use a small needle to inject bone cement into the vertebra using fluoroscopy.

Ongoing Research to Advance Interventional Radiology Techniques

Loyola’s expert radiology team is actively pursuing new research, with studies that include:

As an academic medical center, Loyola is dedicated to improving future treatments by conducting research on new diagnostics and treatments. Loyola’s patients benefit from research discoveries made here. Read about Loyola’s current clinical trials.