Non vascular intervention

Kerry Madigan, admin and clerical manager for radiology

Non vascular intervention includes treatment of benign conditions and cancer (when it is known as interventional oncology). Interventional radiology (IR) therapies are used for the following:

  • to treat tumours/cancer, such as tumour ablation, embolisation, chemoembolisation and radioembolisation (SIRT)
  • to relieve the effects of the cancer on other systems, eg blockage of the oesophagus, bowel, kidney (nephrostomy) or liver (biliary drainage)
  • to drain collections of fluid or pus in the chest or abdomen
  • to place feeding tubes (gastrostomy, jejunostomy)
  • to treat collapsed spinal bones (vertebroplasty)

Tumour therapies
Tumour therapy treatments are intended to shrink or destroy tumours at their primary site or which have spread to other areas (metastases). This is an area of increasing interest and leading to improved survival with reduced morbidity.

Liver, kidney and other tumours
Liver, kidney and other tumours (eg bone, lung) can be treated by destructive therapies (ablation) usually involving heat (radiofrequency, laser, microwave, ultrasound) or cold damage (cryotherapy). The treatment is performed and monitored using imaging (ultrasound, computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging).

Uterine fibroids
Heavy menstrual bleeding and pain can be caused by benign tumours called fibroids. These can be treated by blocking blood vessels (uterine artery embolization, UAE or fibroid embolisation) which leads to shrinkage.

Liver and pancreas
A range of liver, gallbladder and pancreatic conditions are treated by IR. For example blocked bile ducts (due to stones or cancer) can be unblocked and transjugular biopsy of the liver can be performed in those who cannot have a regular liver biopsy. In patients with cirrhosis and portal hypertension a TIPSS procedure (transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt) can be used to relieve symptoms or treat massive haemorrhage.