Interventional radiology includes a variety of highly-specialised procedures using imaging to guide biopsies, injections and other procedures.
With today’s advances in interventional radiology, a broad range of health conditions can be treated with tiny incisions, lower risk, less discomfort, and shorter recovery times.
How to prepare?
There are general preparations and others required depending on which part of the body is being examined.
Some procedures require fasting for four hours before the procedure; however, some do not, and drinking fluid is encouraged. Specific advice will be given to you before your procedure.
Bring all of your usual medication(s) or a list of your medications with you to your appointment.
Bring any relevant previous imaging (angiograms, X-rays, CT scans, ultrasound or MRIs etc.) so that the medical staff can have all relevant information available on the day.
It is helpful to arrive at your appointment before the scheduled appointment time, so that staff can obtain your medical history, collect information about your current medical problem and discuss the procedure with you.
You will be asked to sign a consent form indicating that you understand what will happen, you are happy for the procedure to be carried out, and your questions have been satisfactorily answered.
If you have a history of kidney disease, have previously had an allergic reaction to contrast medium, suffer from any other allergies or have diabetes, you must tell staff when you make the appointment and when you attend for the procedure. This ensures that the appropriate measures are taken to carry out the procedure with maximum safety.
If you are taking metformin, aspirin, clopidogrel, warfarin or other blood-thinning medications, you must inform staff when you make the appointment and when you attend for the procedure.
Make arrangements with a relative or friend to drive you home after the procedure, as you might be given medication that will make you drowsy.
If you live a significant distance from a hospital, it might be best for you to stay overnight nearby for 24 hours after the procedure.
How long does it take?
Procedure time varies from case to case but is generally less than four hours.
What to expect?
Before the procedure, you will be asked to change into a surgical gown and might be given a mild sedative to help you to relax. Occasionally, angiography procedures require general anaesthetic so that you are asleep during the procedure, but this will be discussed with you before your appointment.
During the procedure, you will be lying on a bed. A specialist doctor will explain and carry out the procedure using X-ray images to find the abnormal blood vessel(s) and treat them if appropriate.
We will monitor your heartbeat, breathing, blood pressure, oxygen levels and other vital functions during the procedure. Interventions can be performed using ultrasound, CT scan or angiography. This is dependent on the condition being treated or diagnosed. The radiologist and radiographers will answer any questions you may have about the procedure.
You will be taken to a recovery room and monitored closely after the procedure. After a few hours, you can have someone drive you home and assist with post-procedure instructions.