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Interventional Radiology

Interventional radiology utilizes minimally invasive image-guided techniques to diagnose and treat a variety of medical conditions that previously required open surgery. At Moffitt Cancer Center, our team of board-certified interventional radiologists use advanced imaging such as ultrasound, X-rays, and CT scans to provide front-line therapies across a wide spectrum of disease conditions.

In addition to our focus on top quality patient care, we continue to advance minimally invasive image guided treatments through multispecialty tumor boards and research publications. Treatment plans are reviewed by a multispecialty tumor board, ensuring that patients receive the best and most comprehensive treatment possible.

This team specializes in procedures such as:

Central Venous Access Catheter - A central venous access catheter is a thin soft tube placed into a neck vein that is used to draw blood and give treatments, including intravenous fluids, medications, or blood transfusions. The catheter may stay in place for weeks, months, or years and avoids the need for repeated needle sticks. There are multiple types of central venous access catheters.

A tunneled catheter is a type of catheter that is inserted into a vein in the neck and passed under the skin to a place in the chest (usually just below the collar bone). One end of the catheter remains outside the skin (medicines are given through an opening in this end of the catheter). Passing the catheter under the skin helps reduce the risk of infection and makes it less visible.

An implanted port (often referred to as a Mediport or simply "port") is similar to a tunneled catheter but is left entirely under the skin. Once placed, a needle is used to enter the port through the skin allowing direct IV access and sparing the irritation and discomfort of repeated needle sticks. An implanted port is less obvious than a tunneled catheter and requires very little daily care.

Helpful Videos:

Ports for Chemotherapy and Other Uses: Overview and Placement
Ports for Chemotherapy and Other Uses: Access and Care

Percutaneous Ablation - Percutaneous ablation is a minimally invasive surgical method to treat tumors in the liver or kidney most commonly. Specialized needles called probes are used to "burn" or "freeze" cancers without the usual more invasive surgery. Computed Tomography (CT scan) or ultrasound is used to guide and position the probe into the tumor. This requires only a tiny needle sized hole through which the probe is introduced.

When the probe is within the cancer it is attached to a generator which "burns" or "freezes" the tumor and destroys the cancer cells. Ablation can also be used in bones either to relieve pain or sometimes to keep metastases (cancer cells that have spread) under control.

Embolization - Catheter-directed embolization is a non-surgical, outpatient treatment performed by an interventional radiologist using imaging to deliver a dose of chemotherapy or radiation directly to primary and metastatic liver tumors. The interventional radiologist makes a small incision (3-4 millimeters) in the skin near the groin and inserts a catheter into the femoral artery.

Using real-time imaging, the physician guides a catheter to the liver then releases tiny particles into the arteries that supply blood directly to the tumor. Chemoembolization is a type of catheter-directed embolization that delivers a high dose of chemotherapy to a tumor while also blocking its blood supply.

Radioembolization is catheter-directed embolization that uses tiny radioactive beads to treat cancer. The particles lodge in the tumor and emit radiation that kills cancer cells. Embolization is performed while the patient is conscious but sedated and feeling no pain. It does not require general anesthesia.

Vertebral Augmentation (Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty) - Spinal fractures are a common and painful side effect of cancers and/or their treatments. Vertebral augmentation is an outpatient image-guided procedure to treat broken vertebrae by placing small needles directly into the injured bone.

During vertebroplasty, a special type of bone cement is injected through the needle directly into the fractured vertebra. During kyphoplasty, a small balloon is inserted through the needle into the vertebra and inflated creating a space into which bone cement can be injected. Vertebral augmentation will help stabilize the bone, provide pain relief, increase mobility and improve overall quality of life.

Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filter Placement and Removal - Patients with a deep venous thrombosis (DVT) of their leg who cannot receive blood thinners may require an IVC filter. The filter is an implanted device that is placed within the inferior vena cava, a blood vessel that collects the blood from the legs and brings it to the chest.  The filter acts as a strainer to protect the patient from clots that may otherwise pass to the heart and lungs. 

Blood clots that travel to the lungs, known as a pulmonary embolism (PE), can be life-threatening. Filters can be placed for temporary or permanent use. IVC filters are placed using a minimally invasive image-guided technique accessing a vein in the neck or groin. During this outpatient procedure, the patient is conscious but sedated and feeling no pain. Once a patient is able to tolerate blood thinners, the retrievable IVC filter should be removed in a similar procedure to which it was placed.

Prostatic Artery Embolization (PAE) - Prostatic artery embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that helps improve lower urinary tract symptoms caused by a Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). BPH is a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland and is the most common benign tumor found in men.

The interventional radiologist makes a small incision (3-4 millimeters) in the skin near the groin and inserts a catheter into the femoral artery. Using real-time imaging, the physician guides a catheter to the arteries supplying the enlarged prostate.

Tiny particles are then injected through the catheter into the prostate arteries, reducing the blood supply. This in turn shrinks the prostate gland, which alleviates BPH symptoms. PAE is an outpatient procedure performed while the patient is conscious but sedated and feeling no pain. It does not require general anesthesia.

Our Vascular and Interventional Radiology Department is located at the Muriel Rothman Building of Moffitt’s main campus. To learn more about Moffitt’s Interventional Radiology Program, call 1-888-663-3488 or schedule a visit online. No referral is required to make your appointment; we’ll help you determine if you’re a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.