There are many minimally invasive treatments that may be an option to invasive surgery and can be performed on an outpatient basis, generally with less trauma and quicker recovery. Interventional radiologists use their expertise in reading X-rays, ultrasounds and other medical images to guide small instruments such as catheter tubes measuring just a few millimeters in diameter through blood vessels or other pathways to treat disease. These procedures typically are much less invasive and cost less than traditional surgery. 

What to expect during your test or treatment

Your nurse or technologist will walk you to an imaging center called the hold area to get you ready for your exam, and escort your family to the radiology waiting area.

Your nurse will help you prepare for your procedure, which may include changing to a hospital gown, having any additional tests (such as an EKG, X-rays or Lab work), starting an IV and/or reviewing your medical history.

The physician performing your procedure is an interventional radiologist. The physician or a physician’s assistant will come in to explain the procedure, address any questions or concerns that you or your family may have and finalize the consent forms for your procedure.

During your procedure, your family will remain in the radiology waiting room and will be updated of any delays or progress.

After your procedure, the physician or the advanced care practitioner will talk to you and your family about the procedure you had.

Once you have recovered, you will be discharged with your family and given any discharge instructions you may need.

Interventional Radiology Procedures 

Cabell Huntington Hospital's Radiology Department offers a variety of interventional radiology procedures, including:

Balloon Kyphoplasty

Balloon kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that can give patients relief from pain and correct deformity caused by vertebral compression fractures, which are usually caused by osteoporosis. During the procedure, a pathway to the vertebra is created through a small incision and a small balloon is inserted and inflated to correct the deformity. The balloon is then deflated and removed. The cavity created by the inflated balloon is filled with bone cement to form an internal cast that holds the vertebra in place. The procedure is performed under local or general anesthesia, typically takes less than an hour and generally requires the patient to stay one night in the hospital.

The ELVS Procedure

For patients with varicose veins, a laser treatment called endovascular laser venous system - or the ELVS procedure - has proven to be as effective as surgery but results in less pain, no hospital stay and a much quicker recovery. During the procedure, a thin laser fiber delivers a highly concentrated beam of light that seals the leaky vein. This outpatient procedure is performed using a local anesthesia, and patients experience only a little stinging from the laser. Patients wear compression hose for 72 hours following the procedure, then during the day for about two weeks.

Radiofrequency Ablation

For many years, patients diagnosed with cancerous tumors had three treatment options - surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Now, a fourth option called radiofrequency ablation (RFA) can treat tumors in the liver, kidneys and lungs. Radiofrequency ablation is performed using either an ultrasound or CT scan to guide the placement of the probe. The physician inserts a needle into the tumor and then a probe that has tines much like the spine of an umbrella. Once the probe is in the correct location, the tines are expanded into the tumor, and an electric current is passed through the tumor, killing the cancerous cells and a safe margin of healthy tissue.


Vertebroplasty is a pain treatment for vertebral compression fractures that fail to respond to conventional medical therapy and cause a lot of pain. Vertebroplasty is a non-surgical treatment performed using imaging guidance by interventional radiologists that stabilizes the collapsed vertebra with the injection of medical-grade bone cement into the spine. This eases pain and can prevent further collapse of the vertebra, thereby preventing the height loss and spine curvature commonly seen as a result of osteoporosis. Vertebroplasty dramatically improves back pain within hours of the procedure, provides long-term pain relief and has a low complication rate.

Uterine Fibroid Embolization

Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a safe, effective, non-surgical treatment for benign tumors (fibroids) that grow in or on the uterus. UFE works by blocking the blood supply to the fibroid, causing it to shrink and become inactive. During the procedure, the interventional radiologist inserts a needle into the femoral artery, providing access for a catheter to be guided to the uterine artery. The interventional radiologist then performs an arteriogram, and tiny synthetic particles are slowly injected into the artery. The particles flow toward the fibroids and wedge in the vessels that supply them with blood. This procedure, called embolization, continues for several minutes until there is blockage of blood flow to the fibroids. UFE is a minimally invasive procedure that requires a relatively short recovery time and has few side effects.