Interventional radiology (IR) is a medical specialty that uses image-guided procedures to diagnose and treat diseases and conditions in various parts of the body. It is a minimally invasive approach that uses imaging technologies, such as X-rays, ultrasound, Computed Tomography (CT), or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to guide the procedures.
The utilisation of advanced imaging technologies and equipment in interventional radiology allows treatment to be performed with much smaller incisions compared to traditional surgery. This minimally invasive approach results in shorter healing times and decreased pain for patients. IR procedures can be combined with surgeries or serve as an alternative to surgeries.
As with most radiological procedures, there may be preparations that will be required to be completed by you before, during and after the scan. Below are some preparations needed to ensure a successful and smooth IR procedure.
Fasting 4-6 hours for procedures require sedation or contrast medium administration.Pregnancy Certain IR procedures involve the use of X-ray guidance, which has the potential to harm a developing fetus. Therefore, it is crucial to inform the medical staff if you are pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant.Medications to be stopped Blood thinners (eg. Aspirin, Plavix): Procedure-dependent, may need to stop 1-5 days before the procedure.Medications to be taken Steroid: for patients with known multiple drug allergies and/or have asthma. Antibiotic: For certain IR procedures, antibiotic may be prescribed to you before the procedure to reduce the chance of procedure related infection.Blood test Blood test is required for most of the IR procedures to ensure the safety of patients.Outfit recommendationYou will be required to remove all clothes and accessories before going into the procedure room, so do wear clothing items that are easily removed!
You will be required to change into a hospital gown before the procedure. Please carefully follow the instructions provided in the changing room and ensure that you remove any objects or garments that may interfere with the procedure.
Pre-procedure checkOur staff will go through an IR screening checklist with you one more time before starting of the procedure (medication, blood result, allergy, fasting).
The doctor will provide a detailed explanation regarding the necessity of the procedure, outline the steps involved, and discuss the associated risks. This is an opportune moment for you to seek clarification by asking any questions you may have. Subsequently, you will be required to provide written consent by signing a consent form.
An intravenous (IV) cannula (a thin tube intended for collection of sample/delivery of fluid) may be inserted by our staff for the administration of medications before the procedure.
You will be transferred to the exam table, depending on the procedure you will be undergoing, you may be positioned into supine (lying on your back), prone (lying on your stomach) or lateral (lying on your side) position. The area of your extremities or trunk involved will be cleaned with cleansing solution and covered with sterile linen drapes.
To ensure your comfort, at the starting of the procedure, a local anesthetic medication will be administered through a fine needle to numb the incision site. A small incision will then be made.
Following this, a small needle will be inserted into the access site or the organ of interest under image guidance. This may be done to obtain a tissue sample or to introduce a fine wire and catheter. Medication or implants will be administered or deployed through the wire or catheter.
In certain cases, a contrast medium may be administered to improve the visualization of the specific area being examined. You may be asked to hold your breaths during the procedure for clearer imaging. If you have a history of contrast allergy or impaired renal function, your doctor may choose to use specially formulated contrast agent to minimize the risk of contrast reactions or acute kidney injury. It's important to note that adverse contrast reactions are uncommon but can occur.
There are several categories of reaction severity:
After IR procedures
If you have undergone the examination with contrast media or sedation, you will be monitored for a short while in the recovery area. If you develop any symptoms like shortness of breath, body redness, itchiness or swelling, please inform any medical staff
Routine medication can be resumed post procedure (find out more from your doctor).
Medications that were advised to be stopped pre-procedure can be resumed post-procedure.
Do not flex your hip for 6 hours if the needle was introduced through your groin, it is best to remain lying on bed.
You might experience mild illness post procedure such as mild fever, nausea. Medication may be prescribed to relieve the symptoms. However, if the symptoms persist more than 1 week, please contact you doctor or visit our emergency department.
You might experience delay contrast reaction after you reach home/ward. If it is mild, most of the time it will go away. However if you are experiencing trouble breathing, severe chest pain, call for help immediately.
You may be advised to restrain from strenuous activities for a few days following the procedure.
Following your discharge, if you notice continuous bleeding, redness, itchiness or swelling at the incision site, you may contact us or visit our emergency department.
Contributed by Department of Radiology.