What is an Interventional Radiologist?

Many people have never heard of an interventional radiologist or know why they are uniquely trained to diagnose and treat varicose veins.  An interventional radiologist is a subspecialist  whose specific training is  to perform minimally invasive procedures with the help of imaging.  In contrast, a surgeon will open the body and use their eyes and hands to guide treatments.

An interventional radiologist uses an ultrasound, CT scanner, MRI, x-ray or other imaging techniques to to help guide small needles or tubes called catheters into the body treating an abnormality in the least invasive way possible.  Interventional radiology procedures are usually performed with small nicks in the skin and not large incisions making recovery faster.  The principles of the specialty of interventional radiology is to diagnose and treat a patient in the least invasive way possible in order to speed healing and reduce risk to the patient.

Varicose Veins Treatments are specifically suited to the skills of an interventional radiologist for many reasons.  First, having the correct vein procedure to expertly treat your varicose veins is dependent on the mapping ultrasound.   Being able to interpret and perform the mapping ultrasound gives the interventional radiologist real time information on your specific varicose vein anatomy.  Secondly,  the  vein ablation procedure is performed with ultrasound guidance.  The abnormal vein is accessed under ultrasound with a small needle.  Then, the needle is exchanged for an ablation catheter which is advanced under ultrasound to the correct position.  Ultrasound guides the entire procedure making the procedure safer for you.

At Lakeshore Veins, sclerotherapy is often performed with ultrasound guidance locating the feeding perforator or reticular veins which lie deep to the skin and are not seen.  If sclerotherapy is performed without locating and treating the feeding vessels, the superficial varicose veins or spider veins can return.

Interventional radiologists are specialists regarding vascular disease and vascular imaging.  Not only do they diagnose and treat vein disease, but they diagnose and treat arterial disease.  Many patients with leg pain can have problems with both their veins and arteries and the specialty training of an interventional radiologist helps them to distinguish which procedures may be more helpful for you.

Interventional radiologists are uniquely trained to understand both the ultrasound images and perform the minimally invasive procedures currently done to treat varicose veins.  If you have further questions regarding interventional radiology or varicose veins treatments please contact us or call our vein clinic – Milwaukee – (262) 241-3999.

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