Interventional neuroradiology is a specialty of radiology that offers minimally invasive, image-guided techniques for treating or diagnosing health conditions affecting the head, neck, brain, and spine. Radiology predominantly deals with diagnosing the disease. Interventional radiology/neuroradiology is the therapeutic specialization in this field where multiple diseases are not only diagnosed but are also treated by trained doctors with minimal patient discomfort. It provides high-quality care with lesser morbidity when compared to the other surgical techniques.
Interventional neuroradiologists are doctors trained in minimally invasive interventional techniques and diagnostic neuroradiology. No other specialty possesses this unique combination of skills.
As most interventional neuroradiology procedures involve passing a needle or catheter through the skin to reach the target organ, it is also known as Pinhole Surgery.
More About Interventional Neuroradiology
This field allows the doctors to treat most complicated and life-threatening disease like stroke or bleeding within the brain without actually opening up the skull. Here everything is done through a small hole (1-2mm) in the groin or wrist. This specialty utilizes the most advanced hardware like microcatheters, coils etc. to reach the target organ through a small hole and treat the disease. The major advantage is that blood loss is negligible and patients recovery time is much less when compared to conventional surgeries.
Since, the interventional procedures are done without opening the skull so the complications like intra-op blood loss, infections, need to remove sutures etc is not there. Also, patients comfort is more as most of these procedures are painless or involves minimal pain.
Benefits of Interventional Neuroradiology Techniques:
Interventional neuroradiology is more beneficial than conventional procedures.
Some benefits are:
- As these procedures are minimally invasive, there are no scars after the procedures.
- The risk of post-treatment complications is also less
- Less pain
- Less bleeding
- Faster recovery
What Procedures Do Interventional Neuroradiologists Do?
There are multiple applications of interventional Neuroradiology. Some common ones include:
- Angiography: This procedure is used to find narrowing or blockage of vessels.
- Coiling: It aids in stopping bleeding from the brain aneurysm.
- Mechanical Thrombectomy: Done to treat acute stroke.
- AVM Embolisation: Done to treat brain or spinal vascular malformation.
- Flow Diversion: Done to treat difficult brain aneurysms which sometimes even open surgery can not treat.
- Carotid Stenting: This procedure aids in the opening of a blockage in the neck blood vessels.
- Intracranial Stenting: procedure done to open blockage in the blood vessels within the brain.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long does the procedure take?
Time depends on the procedure. For instance, a cerebral angiogram may take 15-20 minutes while intracranial coiling for the aneurysms may take more than 2-3 hours.
2. Will I be able to eat before the procedure?
The short answer is no. But you will receive instructions from your doctor a day or two before your procedure regarding the food restrictions.
3. Is the procedure uncomfortable?
Not really. You will be made as comfortable as possible. Small procedures are done under local anesthesia so the pain in minimal. More complex procedures are done under general anesthesia so again patient does not feel any pain.
4. How long do I have to stay in the hospital?
If it is an elective procedure the stay is usually 3-4 days. In emergency conditions like acute stroke and bleeding in the brain due to the aneurysm the stay might be increased to a week or 10 days.
5. How safe are these procedures?
In general no procedure/operation is 100% safe. All carry some risk of complications. Higher the experience of the operator lower is the risk. Interventional Neuroradiology procedures are generally safe and carry 2-4% of major complications.
6. When can I resume my day to day activities?
Generally once the patient is discharged from the hospital he can start his routine activities in a weeks time. Sometimes when there are disease related complications this time period may increase to couple of weeks.