If you watch medical dramas like House or Gray's Anatomy, then you probably have already seen or heard something about vascular radiology without even knowing it. This procedure is quite common now and treats blood clots and blocked arteries. It may also be used to repair damaged blood vessels that have ruptured without having to open a patient up to get to the vessels in question. If you need surgery for blood clots and/or blocked arteries, here is how vascular radiology helps.
Less Invasive, Faster Healing Time
Vascular radiology uses real-time radiological imaging to help the surgeon guide tiny instruments through blood vessels to a blockage or clot. The instruments are inserted through tiny incisions near the troubled vessels or in larger vessels that travel directly to the affected vessels. For example, if you have a clot that is dangerously close to your lungs, your surgeon may place an incision in your neck in the main artery or vein there and feed the instruments through these vessels down to the clot. The radiology camera aids the surgeon in guiding the instruments carefully and slowly into position. A blood clot is then blasted with waves or, if it is large enough and solid enough, pulled carefully back out of the body via the incision in the neck.
You incur only the down time required to have this surgery done. The incision is so small that it heals up within a week or two. The only stitches used are internal, for closing the blood vessel used for this procedure.
A similar procedure is used for blocked arteries, except that angioplasty is often involved. A balloon catheter is inserted into the incision and open blood vessel, and then it is guided into position by the radiology camera. The balloon is slowly inflated to stretch the blood vessel open without exploding it. A stent is used to keep the expanded vessel open, and then the balloon is deflated and withdrawn. This can be done with almost any blood vessel in your body now and completed using the techniques from vascular radiology. Like blood clots and vascular radiology, your down time is minimal.
What Else Your Doctor or Surgeon Might See with Vascular Radiology
Sometimes in the process of treating blood clots and blocked arteries, your surgeon may spot something else that is quite amiss. With the radiology camera/scope or machine in place, many things that were recently unknown about your health or not diagnosed are brought to light. After your surgery, your doctor may discuss with you anything else of concern that was spotted and what your next options are.
For more information about vascular radiology and other options, contact a health clinic in your area, such as DeSoto Memorial Hospital.