Innovative procedures in Interventional Radiology at Memorial Regional Hospital provides exceptional care, as of November 1, 2013, the dynamic procedures continue to change the quality of life of various patients.
Minimal invasive to non-invasive procedures are offered to patients as an alternative to invasive surgery and certain cancer treatments.
Department of Vascular and Interventional Radiology Memorial Healthcare System's Director Michael Cohn, MD, Board Certified, ACR, discusses the options available to patients in his article, Vascular and Interventional Radiology Treatments for a Wide Variety of Illness as well as in videos where he performs two procedures: Radio Frequency Ablation and Chemoembolization.
Radiofrequency Ablation is used to treat lung cancer patients who are non surgical candidates due to other lung diseases such as emphysema as well as to treat kidney, liver, bone and soft tissue tumors.
According to Dr. Cohn a small needle like probe is placed in the lesion where the tumor is ablated with localized heat and the prognosis is usually very good.
"Chemoembolization is a combination of local delivery of chemotherapy and a procedure called embolization to treat cancer, most often of the liver. In chemoembolization anti-cancer drugs are injected directly into the blood vessels feeding a cancerous tumor. In addition, synthetic material called an embolic agent is placed inside the blood vessels that supply blood to the tumor, in effect trapping the chemotherapy in the tumor." Cohn said.
Depending on the number and type of tumors chemoembolization may be used as the sole treatment or may be combined with other treatment options such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or radiofrequency ablation.
Vast improvements have been made when treating vascular disease.
"We now can treat patients with all sorts of vascular disease in a minimally invasive fashion which significantly decreases morbidity and mortality. This includes patients who have a blockage in blood supply to their foot, minimally invasive procedures are now used to get blood back to a patients foot to heal ulcers and save patients from getting amputations." Cohn said.
One of the most impressive benefits of the procedures is the collaboration of physicians in an effort to offer a patient minimal to noninvasive radiological guided procedures. Interventional Radiology is often less painful and requires less downtime than normal surgical procedures.
Co-Chief of Interventional Radiology at Memorial Regional Hospital, Dr. Michael Cohn not only is highly experienced but he is also trains other physicians throughout the United States.
"This is cutting edge technology that makes a huge difference in the way surgical procedures are handled today." Cohn said.
The problem at hand appears to be that not a lot of patients understand the development of the new technology and their options.
According to Covidien's Senior Principal Development Engineer Thomas McPeak whose company also spends a great deal of time educating clinicians, it appears that the current standard of care is lagging behind.
"I think there are a number of reasons that the current standard of care is lagging behind. In a lot of cases, physicians do procedures the way they have been trained, so change within medicine is not as rapid as you might think. Also, although we like to think clinicians are all very well educated and up to date on the current trends, the truth is that they often are not aware of diseases and their optimal treatment. This is particularly true with peripheral arterial disease.
"In addition, it depends a great deal on how the patient gets their diagnosis what the treatment course will be. For example, if you are seeing a podiatrist (or a wound care specialist) because you have a non-healing ulcer on your foot, you will likely be referred to a surgeon rather than a vascular specialist because most of the referring physicians are not aware that peripheral arterial disease is probably the root cause of the failure to heal. The surgeon, is likely to amputate because that is what they are trained to do." McPeak said.
The most complex of patients may be able to benefit from new treatments which have been proven to work.