What is an interventional radiologist?

Interventional radiologists are board-certified physicians who specialize in minimally invasive, targeted treatments. They offer the most in-depth knowledge of the least invasive treatments available coupled with diagnostic and clinical experience across all specialties. They use X-rays, MRI and other imaging to advance a catheter in the body, usually in an artery, to treat at the source of the disease non-surgically. As the inventors of angioplasty and the catheter-delivered stent, which were first used in the legs to treat peripheral arterial disease, interventional radiologists pioneered minimally invasive modern medicine.

What is a vascular surgeon?

A vascular surgeon is a doctor who has undergone additional subspecialty training in treating disease of the vascular system. Comprised of the arteries and veins within the body, vascular disease typically refers to all of the blood vessels that are not within the heart and brain. These specialists perform both traditional surgery and minimally invasive (endoscopic) catheter-based procedures where disease is treated from within the body. Vascular surgeons treat a wide range of health conditions, from varicose veins to aneurysms and chronic conditions such as peripheral artery disease.

What is an interventional pain management specialist?

There are several types of doctors who specialize in pain management. However, an interventional pain management specialists has undergone several additional years of training in diagnostic radiology as well as fellowship (subspecialized) training in pain management treatment. Unlike other doctors, these specialists use imaging technology to guide therapies. When pain becomes severe enough to interfere with daily life and after medication regimens have been tried, the services of an interventional pain management specialist can be a solution to chronic or acute pain. These treatments can also help reduce dependency on medication, such as NSAIDs or opioids.

Are interventional procedures covered by insurance?

Coverage policies vary from insurance carrier to insurance carrier but interventional radiology procedures are typically covered by insurance carriers. However, some cutting edge procedures may still be viewed by the insurance carrier as “experimental and investigational” and these services need special consideration.

Typically, how long do interventional procedures take?

It depends entirely on the procedure being performed. Some procedures can take less than 15 minutes while others can take as long as several hours. This will be discussed with you during the pre-op consultation.

Are interventional procedures painful?

Interventional procedures are non-painful. The pain that can occur with interventional procedures is controlled with a combination of conscious sedation (medication given to a patient who remains awake) and local anesthetics.

Will I be put to sleep?

Most procedures are performed with local numbing medicine at the location in the skin where the catheter or needle enters the body. Often, sedation medicine is given through an IV to make patients more comfortable and relaxed, but not put them to sleep.

Will I have to stay overnight in the hospital?

One advantage of the minimally invasive approach used by interventional radiologists is that most procedures can be completed without requiring overnight admission into the hospital. Most procedures do not require admissions longer than 23 hours for observation. Some exceptions apply depending on the procedure and the general health status of the patient.

Should I take my daily medications?

You should take your scheduled morning medication(s) with a sip of water prior to coming to the hospital. There are a few exceptions that will be discussed during your pre-op consultation.