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Interventional Radiology

Our interventional radiologists provide therapeutic and diagnostic procedures for cancerous and noncancerous conditions affecting every area of the body except the head and heart. Treatments for head and heart conditions are provided by interventional neurologists and interventional cardiologists, respectively.

The region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, The University of Kansas Cancer Center offers today’s most innovative minimally invasive therapies that result in less pain and faster recovery times.

Advanced imaging technology allows for more precise, targeted administration of cancer drugs, ensuring the medication is delivered where it is needed most and minimizing the effects on healthy organs.

What is interventional radiology?

Interventional radiology uses a catheter, a small flexible tube inserted in an artery, usually in the thigh, to provide minimally invasive therapies such as microwave ablation tissue removal. Advanced imaging, including X-ray, CT-MRI and ultrasound, help interventional radiologists guide the catheter to the affected area of the body.

Who can benefit from interventional radiology?

Our interventional radiologists work with doctors from every specialty. Patients benefit from the expertise of a multidisciplinary team that provides care for conditions such as:

How does interventional radiology work?

An interventional radiologist will insert a small, flexible catheter into an artery, often in the thigh, to deliver minimal invasive therapies such as:

  • Effective treatment for primary and metastatic liver cancer includes minimally invasive targeted therapies that affect only the tumor. Depending on the patient’s condition, targeted therapy may be combined with surgery.
  • Microscopic beads deliver Y90, a radioactive form of the element yttrium, through the blood stream directly to the tumor. Radiation kills the cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. TheraSphere®, which uses glass beads, treats primary liver cancer. SIR-Spheres® uses beads of biocompatible resin to treat metastatic liver cancer. Radioembolization is usually combined with chemotherapy.

  • Biodegradable beads filled with concentrated chemotherapy drugs are sent directly to the tumor. Because the beads stop blood flow to the tumor and keep chemo drugs out of the bloodstream, patients experience better results and greatly reduced side effects.
  • These unique drug-releasing beads are combined with liquid chemotherapy drugs and microwave ablation. LUMI™ beads stop blood flow to the tumor and, with the liquid drugs, saturate the tumor with chemotherapy. LUMI beads also appear as bright areas in CT images. This defines the tumor size and allows us to heat the tumor using microwave ablation, killing cancer cells. The combined effect of LUMI beads, chemotherapy and microwave ablation is greater than any single treatment. Combining therapies is about 90%-95% effective.
  • A catheter with a special probe uses microwaves to heat and kill tumor cells. Computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging guides the catheter to the tumor. This is effective treatment for cancerous and noncancerous bone lesions such as osteoid osteoma, and for lungs that have only 1 or 2 cancerous lesions. We also use microwave ablation in combination with chemoembolization for liver cancer.
  • We provide 2 nonsurgical treatments for bone cysts and destructive bone lesions. To fixate difficult areas such as the pelvis, we fill the lesion with a type of cement. For larger, noncancerous bone cysts, we use PRO-DENSE™, a material that stimulates new bone growth.

  • During radiation therapy for prostate, lung and liver cancer, the Calypso 4D Localization System™ allows continuous tracking of targeted tissue for more precise treatment.

  • This procedure helps diagnose leukemia and lymphoma. Patients receive biopsies at the health system’s Indian Creek or main campus. Patients receive sedation, but do not stay overnight.
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Our cancer center is 1 of fewer than 60 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers nationwide.
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Benefits and risks of interventional radiology

Because interventional radiology is a minimally invasive treatment that uses a small incision, it often offers safer and more effective outcomes over traditional surgery. Some benefits of interventional radiology include:

  • Less pain
  • Minimized risk
  • Faster recovery

While there is always a risk with any medical procedure, risks associated with interventional radiology are minimal. General risks include bleeding or possible infection. Other risks depend on the specific interventional radiology procedure you require.

What happens during interventional radiology treatments?

Before your procedure, you can expect lab tests and some preprocedure instructions, such as fasting or stopping current medications. Most interventional radiology procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and you will be able to return home the same day.

You may receive injections of dye, medication or sedation once on the procedure table. A small incision allows the radiologist to guide a wire and catheter through the blood vessel to the desired treatment area. What happens after that depends on the type of treatment you are receiving. How long the procedure takes also depends on the type of treatment. Once complete, you will proceed to recovery before being released with discharge instructions.

Why choose us

Although we treat noncancerous conditions, we specialize in advanced treatment for liver, kidney and colon cancer. The 3 main pillars of cancer care are medical oncology, surgical oncology and radiation oncology. Originally, interventional radiology was considered the therapy of last resort or “salvage therapy.” With advances in technology, interventional radiology is safer and more effective than traditional surgery for many conditions. Today it’s the gold standard or 4th pillar of cancer care.

Our fellowship-trained interventional radiologists are board-certified by the American Board of Radiology and have earned a certificate of additional qualification. This means they have completed extensive, elective education and training in the field of interventional radiology.

Our interventional radiologists also participate in cancer center tumor board meetings. These regular conferences allow specialists from multiple disciplines to collaborate and discuss difficult cancer cases. This facilitates treatment planning and helps physicians determine therapies offering potentially better outcomes.

As an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center, The University of Kansas Cancer Center offers the most innovative minimally invasive therapies that result in less pain and shorter recovery times for you.

Request your appointment today.

To make an appointment at The University of Kansas Cancer Center, call 913-588-1227.