Several of the specialized procedures offered by the interventional radiology doctors at MTV IR are classified as arterial vascular interventions. These highly specialized procedures are often used when patients are referred to us for evaluation and treatment of severe leg pain due to peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD is caused by a buildup of arterial plaque that narrows the arteries carrying blood to the legs, and can result in cramping pain, numbness, and feelings of achiness or heaviness in the legs, most often when walking or climbing stairs. Although the leg pain is problematic in itself, untreated PAD is dangerous because it increases the patient’s chances of ulceration and limb threatening ischemia.
To treat this condition, MTV IR specialists first perform a diagnostic angiogram to get a closer look at the arteries. This procedure may involve placing a catheter into the artery at the groin or wrist, and then injecting a special dye and analyzing the results via X-ray. Once the problem areas have been identified, MTV IR doctors work with the referring physicians to develop a treatment plan.
Treatment often continues with a therapeutic angiogram, which may involve a number of different IR procedures such as angioplasty (expanding the narrowed artery by inflating a tiny balloon) or placing a stent to hold the artery open. Other procedures include drug-coated balloon angioplasty, drug-coated stent placement, or atherectomy (to remove plaque buildups that have become calcified and do not respond well to angioplasty or medication – see the videos on this page).
Each of these procedures is minimally invasive, in that access to the diseased arteries is gained through a tiny incision in the groin, wrist, or ankles. Most arterial vascular interventions at MTV IR are performed as outpatient procedures with no overnight hospital stays required.