Pediatric Interventional Radiology (IR)
Pediatric Interventional Radiology can be used for a wide array of medical conditions and offers minimally invasive alternatives to some surgical procedures.
Children’s Health has two state-of-the-art Interventional Radiology suites for minimally invasive studies such as catheter-based angiography and fluoroscopy. These studies use dye or contrast injected during the procedure and allows blood flow through the vessels or affected area to be viewed in real time. This allows interventional radiologists to better examine, diagnose and treat medical conditions.
Our team can also use other imaging guidance such as ultrasound, CT and MRI to precisely deliver medication to an area of the body or to perform minimally invasive procedures rather than surgery. These types of procedures can reduce complications, reduce the risk of infection, require a shorter hospital stay and result in faster recuperation.
Common procedures performed by our Interventional Radiology team include:
- Liver biopsies – In this procedure a thin needle is guided into the liver to obtain cells to look for any abnormality. This procedure maximizes the chance of obtaining a good tissue sample and reduces complications associated with surgery.
- Angiograms and arteriograms –An angiogram or arteriogram is a minimally invasive procedure which uses a special contrast, or dye, to observe blood flow. During the procedure, the interventional radiologist places a small IV or catheter which is used to reach the blood vessels that supply the affected area. With the help of the special contrast or dye, an X-ray machine moves in different angles and takes pictures of the blood vessels from multiple angles to observe the flow through the area.
- Angioplasty – If narrowing of a blood vessel is found, interventional radiologists can perform an angioplasty. During this procedure, a thin hollow tube called a catheter is guided through an artery. The tip of the catheter carries a small balloon, which widens the blood vessel and improves blood flow. Sometimes a stent, a tiny mesh tube, is also inserted to support the artery walls.
- Feeding tube placement – Interventional radiologists place feeding tubes in children who are unable to eat by mouth. This procedure uses X-ray guidance to place the feeding tube directly into the stomach through the skin.
- Drainage tube placement – Interventional radiology allows efficient placement of drainage tubes without surgery.
- Central line or PICC placement – When medications or fluids need to be administered on a regular basis over an extended period of time, a central line or PICC line is placed to reduce the need for multiple IV insertions. This reduces infection rates and is easier for patients. To place these lines, an interventional radiologist inserts a specially designed plastic tube called a catheter directly into the vein using specialized procedures to ensure accuracy and comfort.
- Vascular embolization – When it is necessary to have blood flow stopped to a specific area, such as to a vascular malformation, tumor or fibroid, interventional radiologists place a catheter directly into an artery or vein and deliver special medication to stop blood flow.
- Sclerotherapy – Sclerotherapy is used to treat vascular and lymphatic malformations. The procedure uses the injection of agents through the skin into the abnormal veins or cysts in order to deliver high local concentrations of medication designed to cause the veins or cysts to shrink. These procedures are done by interventional radiologists using ultrasound and fluoroscopy to localize the delivery of the sclerosing agents or medications.
What to Expect
You will be called before your child’s exam and given instructions about what you can expect specific to the type of procedure your child will have. For Interventional Radiology procedures, your child will need to lie very still and will therefore receive general anesthesia for the procedure.
The anesthesiologists are present throughout the procedure to continuously monitor your child and ensure their comfort. Our Child Life Team works with children and parents to prepare them for upcoming procedures and help alleviate any anxiety. Our pediatric nurses begin caring for your child before you walk through the door and continue care after you take your child home, remaining accessible to answer post-procedure questions and concerns.
How long do Interventional Radiology procedures take?
This depends entirely on the exam to be performed. Preparation time takes from 30 minutes to one hour. Recovery time can last from one to six hours. Your doctor will give you all the detailed information you need in order to help answer all your questions about your child’s procedure.
Will my child feel any pain with the procedure?
Your child will feel no pain during the procedure. Because it is important that your child stay very still during the procedure, anesthesia will be given. The anesthesia will be administered through an IV in your child’s hand, arm or foot and your child may feel a slight pinch when the IV is started.
Can I stay with my child during the procedure?
The Interventional Radiology Suites are similar to an operating room and therefore you are not allowed to stay with your child during the procedure. You will be asked to wait in the waiting room until the procedure is completed. We understand that this is stressful and we do all we can to make sure that you are separated from your child for the shortest amount of time possible.