Interventional Radiology

Cardiovascular interventional radiology is a diagnostic procedure that can be used in all areas of the body except for the brain and spine. Our board-certified radiologists have access to minimally invasive imaging techniques, which means our patients receive excellent care, along with safe, efficient and cost-effective diagnosis and treatment.

Cardiovascular Interventional Radiology Diagnostic Procedures

Carotid Stenting    
Carotid stenting  is the insertion of a small metal tube known as a stent to widen the carotid artery (the vessel responsible for blood flow to the brain) if it has been hindered by plaque buildup. During the procedure, your physician will localize narrow, weak blood vessels by injecting a dye into the veins, performing a fluoroscopy   (a test providing a live X-ray image) to detect blockage in the veins. This helps guide the physician in the proper placement of the carotid stent.

Endovascular Treatments of AVM/AV Fistulas  
An endovascular embolization is a minimally-invasive procedure that cuts off the blood supply to a specifically identified part of an artery in order to avoid the risk of serious complications. Arteriovenous (AV) fistulas are typically found in a passageway between an artery and a vein; however, this is an abnormal occurrence. AV fistulas tend to grow in the legs and arms, but can occur just about anywhere in the body, including vital organs, such as the brain or the heart. While AV fistulas can be harmless, their presence can lead to serious problems, such as heart failure. When too much blood is returned to the heart at once, heart failure can occur. AV fistulas act as a bridge to bypass blood flow from the arteries directly to the veins bypassing the capillaries. A small amount of this activity is not harmful, but if the amount of blood flowing is increasing, so does the risk of heart failure because tissues in the lower region may receive less blood supply.

Tumor Embolizations
Tumor embolization is the shutting down of blood supply to the tumor, which makes the tumor margins more visible for easier and more complete removal. Some tumors, such as those of the spine, head and neck, have larger blood vessels that supply the tumor with blood, so they are most likely to undergo tumor embolization during surgery. Embolization may be recommended for a patient with a tumor that cannot be removed by surgery or that is too large to treat with ablation.

Tumor Ablation
Radiofrequency  ablation is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure to treat solid cancers, during which probes are placed into liver tumors and heat is used to destroy the tumor cells. Many times, this can be performed percutaneously (inserting a needle through the skin), without making any incisions. In some cases, the procedure can be done using a laparascope (a fiber optic cable system), without open surgery, although occasionally open surgery is required. Radiofrequency ablation can be an option for patients with primary liver cancers or cancer metastatic to the liver who are not candidates for surgery. Tumors up to 5 cm in diameter, as well as multiple tumors can be treated effectively with this technique.

Radiofrequency ablation uses an electrical current delivered through a special probe that is directed into the tumor, guided by ultrasound or a computed tomography (CT), ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The probe allows the electric current to pass into the tumor without affecting surrounding skin, muscle and blood vessels, requiring only a tiny hole usually smaller than 3 millimeters through which the probe is inserted. The current generates sufficient heat to burn or freeze the cancer, which will eventually be replaced by scar tissue.


Houston Methodist performs cardiovascular vascular intervention procedures at our convenient treatment locations.