Think radiology is just about getting an X-ray? Think again.
Interventional radiology takes an active role in performing minimally invasive image-guided procedures to diagnose and treat disease in nearly every organ of the body, including many conditions that once required surgery. This includes most cancers, vein problems, fibroids, musculoskeletal issues, pain, and more.
Interventional radiologists use X-rays, fluoroscopy, CT and other very precise imaging tools to place a catheter in the body to treat the source of the disease internally. Compared to conventional open surgery, IR is associated with less pain, lower risk of complications, and shorter recovery periods.
When other hospitals need interventional radiology, they often refer their patients to the board-certified and fellowship-trained interventional radiologists at Augusta University Health. Unlike other hospitals, our specialists are available 24/7 and perform some of the most advanced IR procedures in the state of Georgia and the Southeast.
Johns Hopkins. Northwestern. Washington University. These institutions offer some of the nation’s best programs for interventional radiology — and are where our interventional radiologists received their training.
Add to that board certification, fellowship training, and Certificate of Added Qualifications — making our IR specialists the most highly skilled in this region. Their years of experience and training mean better outcomes for you.
Plus, as the state’s teaching hospital, we provide high-level fellowship training to future interventional radiologists, which means we know the latest advanced treatment protocols and put this knowledge to use every day when we see patients.
Our universal procedure room is a multifunctional system offering:
- Precision. Our IR specialists use multiple imaging specialties--X-ray, ultrasound, fluoroscopy and CT—to hone in on specific parts of the body.
- Hi-fidelity imaging. These high-quality images instantly inform our interventional radiologists so they can make the right care decisions.
- 3-D imaging. Rotating C-arms can also capture 3-D vascular images in real time to provide an accurate roadmap during catheterization.
- Ultra low dose. Because of the precise nature of these images, procedure times are shorter, which reduces X-ray dose to patients.
- Patient comfort. Ambient Technology, where patients can choose different soft lighting colors, helps create a positive and relaxing environment of care that is patient-focused. ^
As a regional referral center, we provide care for some of the area’s most complex cases, including bariatric cases. But complex or simple, you can rest assured that our team has the experience and technology to care for you and your family.
We provide some of the most advanced procedures in the region, including Y90 radioembolization, which safely treats advanced liver cancer and preserves the patient’s quality of life. This outpatient procedure is offered in very few institutions in the Southeast, but is performed routinely at Medical Center at Augusta University.
Catheter-directed thrombolysis. This procedure breaks up a blood clot by delivering a clot-busting drug directly into the vein.
Central venous access catheters (CVAC). CVAC are tubes that are inserted into the body for frequent blood draws, hemodialysis, or for giving long-term nutrition or medications such as antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs. The different types of CVAC include:
- Peripherally inserted central catheters, or PICC lines
- Dialysis catheters
- Plasmapheresis catheters/Hickman catheter
Embolization. We cut off blood supply to a diseased artery, vein, or other tissue by making a small nick in the groin and inserting a catheter that delivers coils and chemicals. Embolization can be used to stop life-threatening bleeding as well as to treat conditions such as varicoceles and uterine fibroids.
Inferior vena cava filter placement (retrievable and permanent). Placing a device called an IVC filter in the leg vein prevents blood clots from traveling from the veins up to the lungs.
Peripheral arterial disease treatment. Placing stents in arteries opens up blockages and restores blood flow in the limbs.
Pulmonary AVM (arteriovenous malformation) embolization. Using minimally invasive techniques, we can embolize (cut off the blood supply) to AVMs in the lungs without the need for surgery. This service is part of our work with Dr. James Gossage and the hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia clinic at Augusta University Health, which is the largest HHT clinic in the Southeast.
Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS). This procedure creates a connection between two blood vessels of the liver to relieve fluid congestion and ascites.
Varicose vein treatment. Using vein ablation, we seal up a diseased vein through application of laser or radiofrequency energy.
Venogram/arteriogram. We inject dye into arteries and veins to diagnose blocked areas.
Uterine fibroid embolization. We cut the blood supply to benign tumors in the uterus to reduce bleeding, pain and urinary frequency and avoid the need for other surgery, such as hysterectomy.
Biopsy. Instead of open surgery, we use a catheter to remove a sample of tissue such as from the breast, lung, or liver to look for cancer and other diseases.
Chemoembolization. A catheter delivers chemotherapy drugs directly to the tumor.
Cryotherapy. A cold gas is applied directly to cancerous tissue to freeze and remove it.
Radiofrequency ablation and microwave ablation. Radiofrequency energy is delivered directly to the tumor through a catheter.
Y90 radioembolization. Augusta University Health is the only hospital in Georgia outside of Atlanta offering Y90 radioembolization to treat liver cancer that has metastasized. This procedure is ideal for patients who are not candidates for surgery or liver transplantation. During the outpatient procedure, we deliver tiny microspheres filled with the radioactive isotope yttrium Y-90 through the blood vessels and to the tumor site, to help slow the cancer’s progression and preserve the patient’s quality of life.
Biliary drain. This is a tube that drains bile from the liver when bile ducts are blocked.
Cholecystostomy. We place a tube through the skin and create a stoma that drains bile directly from the gall bladder. This procedure is for patients who need to delay gall bladder surgery or those who are not good candidates for surgery.
Fistulagram. During this procedure, we take an image of a dialysis fistula or arteriovenous graft to find clots or other blockages before removing them.
Gastrostomy tubes (PEG tube) placement. We insert a feeding tube into the stomachs of patients who are unable to take food by mouth.
Nephrostomy tube. A small tube is placed through the skin into the kidney to drain urine in cases of ureter or bladder disease.
Thoracentesis/paracentesis. We remove fluid that has collected around the lungs or in the abdomen.
Ureteral stent. A small tube is placed inside a ureter to keep it open and prevent it from blocking urine flow from the kidney to the bladder.
Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. Patients with back issues or osteoporosis may experience compression fractures in the spine. Instead of lengthy (and risky) back surgery involving multilevel fusion and screws, we can inject a cement mixture into the bone to stabilize the vertebrae. Patients go home the same day with just a band-aid on their backs; pain is decreased, and patients can often walk normally again.
Abscess drain. We place a tube that drains infected fluids collected inside the body. ^
If you have any questions or concerns about your procedure, please contact us at 706-721-8220.
Before your procedure, your physician or a member of your physician’s staff will go over what to expect before and after your procedure.
Most interventional radiology procedures are performed with the patient under conscious sedation. Conscious sedation means that you will be given medication that will block pain and help you relax. These medications require that you do not take any food or drinks by mouth after midnight before the procedure.
IV contrast may be given during the procedure. If you think you may be allergic to contrast material, inform your physician.
You may be able to go home on the same day or be admitted overnight, so you must arrange for a ride home accordingly.
You should bring all your medications or your medication list with you on the day of the procedure. ^