What is an Interventional Radiologist?
radiologists are medical doctors who are specialized in performing
medical procedures that involve radiology, using guided imaging
equipments such as X-rays, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, ultrasound
and computed tomography (CT) to diagnose diseases.
IRs are board
certified radiologists that are fellowship trained in percutaneous
interventions using guided imaging. Their specialized training is
certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
improved ability to see inside the body with radiologic imaging and the
development of tools such as balloon catheters, gave rise to
interventional radiology (IR) in the mid-1970s. Interventional
radiologists pioneered coronary angiography and other minimally invasive
procedures that are commonplace in medicine today. In 1992, the
American Medical Association officially recognized IR as a medical
specialty, and today there are more than 5,000 interventional
radiologists in the United States.
The Society of Interventional
Radiology (SIR), the professional association of interventional
radiologists based in Fairfax, Va., has seen its membership steadily
increase to more than 3,600 worldwide in 2001.^ Top of Page
What are the advantages of minimally invasive treatments?
- Minimally Invasive procedures are often less expensive than surgery or any other alternatives
- General anesthesia is usually not required
- Pain and recovery time are often significantly reduced
- Most procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis or require only a short hospital stay
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What is an Angiogram?
Angiography is an X-ray exam of the arteries and veins to diagnose blockages and other blood vessel problems.
are performed by interventional radiologists (IR). During an angiogram,
the doctor inserts a thin tube (catheter) into the artery through a
small nick in the skin about the size of the tip of a pencil. A
substance called a contrast agent (X-ray dye) is injected to make the
blood vessels visible on the X-ray.
In many cases, a IR can
treat a blocked blood vessel without surgery at the same time the
angiogram is performed. Interventional radiologists treat blockages with
techniques called angioplasty and thrombolysis.^ Top of Page
What is Angioplasty and Stent?
Angioplasty is a way of opening a narrowed or closed blood vessel without having to do major surgery.
catheter with a tiny balloon at its tip is inserted into the blood
vessel; usually one of the coronary arteries supplying the heart wall or
a major artery bringing blood to an arm or leg. After advancing the tip
of the catheter to the site of blockage, the balloon is then inflated,
deflated and removed.
The narrowing or blockage most often is
caused by arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries (fatty plaques
form on the inner wall of the artery and become larger, gradually
cutting down on free blood flow), expanding the balloon stretches the
arterial wall and disrupts the fatty plaques, helping to restore blood
Stent Between 70 percent and 90 percent of the angioplasty
procedures use a stent. Stent is a hollow thin-walled wire mesh tube
which keeps the vessel open after widening it. Because arteriosclerosis
is an ongoing disease, more plaque might form and again limit blood
flow. The stent is placed onto the balloon and pressed firmly against
the artery wall when inflating it. The balloon then is deflated, leaving
the stent in place to act as a scaffold.
Occasionally the plaque
will not remain against the inner lining of the artery but goes back to
its former position after the balloon is deflated. Another possibility
is that a small amount of plaque may continue to block the flow of
blood. In these cases the radiologist may place a stent that is expanded
at the site of plaque. The muscle tissue in the vessel wall holds the
stent in place. In time, a layer of cells forms over the stent, which in
effect becomes a part of the vessel. In some cases the size of the
diseased artery and the site of blockage make a stent especially useful.
stent also may be placed to keep an artery open if the inflated balloon
has torn or damaged it. Some modern stents are covered with a drug that
helps keep the artery open; they seem to improve the long-term success
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What are the health plans with which you participate?
your convenience we have contracted to accept most insurances in Santa
Clara County, but you should always directly verify coverage of
procedures with your insurance provider.^ Top of Page
Do you provide financing for elective medical treatments?
Yes. We provide financing thru "Advanced Patient Financing". You can call their offices at: for more information or pick up a copy of the application form at our offices.^ Top of Page
http://www.whhs.com/^ Top of Page
We strive to keep you
informed of all our current insurance plans accepted with our group. To
provide better service and care for patients, our group accepts all
insurances. At this time M.I.S.S. is a contracted participating provider
with the following insurance carriers:
- Medi-Cal (Medi-Medi patients ONLY; Medicare 1st, Medi-Cal 2nd)
- United Health / Pacific Care
- Healthy Generations ( Santa Clara County Health Plan