Arterial Procedures

Arterial procedures are interventional radiology techniques used to diagnose and treat arterial diseases anywhere in the body. These occur when blood vessels are narrowed or blocked by fatty deposits. Blood flow to specific areas of the body decreases, thus harming surrounding tissues.

Diagnostic Arteriography

Arteriography is an X-ray exam of the arteries to diagnose blockages and other blood vessel problems. An interventional radiologist performs this procedure. During an arteriogram, the doctor inserts a thin tube, or catheter, into the artery through a small nick in the skin about the size of the tip of a pencil. A substance called a contrast agent (dye) is injected to make the arteries visible on X-rays.

One of the most common reasons for an arteriogram is to see if there is a blockage or narrowing in a blood vessel that may interfere with the normal flow of blood through the body. In many cases, the interventional radiologist can treat a blocked artery without surgery at the same time that the arteriogram is performed. Interventional radiologists treat blockages with techniques called angioplasty and thrombolysis.

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Vascular Recanalization

Recanalization of vessels in any location in the body is performed using a laser endoscope. A laser endoscope uses optic fibers to allow the radiologist to see and remove plaques (blockages) from arteries.

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In this technique, the interventional radiologist inserts a very small balloon attached to a thin tube (catheter) into a blood vessel through a small nick in the skin. The catheter is threaded under X-ray guidance to the site of the blocked artery. The balloon is inflated to open the artery.

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Vascular Stents

Vascular stents are small metal tubes that are inserted into blood vessels to hold them open. They can be inserted anywhere in the body.

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Thrombolysis, or thrombolytic treatment, is used when the blockage in an artery is caused by a blood clot. Thrombolytic drugs that dissolve clots are injected through a catheter to eliminate the clot and restore the blood flow.

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Vascular Embolization

Interventional radiologists can treat bleeding anywhere in the body using embolization. During embolization, an interventional radiologist inserts a catheter through a nick in the skin and advances it to the site of the ruptured blood vessel. An embolizing agent — a substance that clots or closes off the bleeding blood vessel — is injected under X-ray guidance.

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Tumor Chemoembolization

Chemoembolization is a palliative treatment for liver cancer. This can be a cancer originating in the liver or a cancer that has spread (metastasized) to the liver from other areas in the body. During chemoembolization, three chemotherapy drugs are injected directly into the artery that supplies blood to the tumor in the liver. The artery is then blocked off (embolized).

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Preoperative Tumor Embolization

Many of the tumors that occur in the head, neck and spine have a large blood supply. This can make surgical removal of these tumors difficult and risky. These tumors include meningiomas (tumors of the covering of the brain), paragangliomas or glomus tumors (tumors associated with nerves of the head and neck), juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibromas (tumors of the nose that occur in young males), head and neck cancers, and tumors of the bones of the spine (vertebrae). When surgery is planned, a catheter is placed into an artery (usually in the leg) and threaded up through to the artery or arteries supplying blood to the tumor. Material is injected to block off the blood supply to the tumor (embolization). This is usually performed within a few days before surgery.

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Schedule an Appointment

For more information, call Emory HealthConnection℠ 404-778-7777 or 1-800-75-EMORY from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST (Monday-Friday).