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Interventional Neuroradiology

What is Interventional Neuroradiology?

Interventional neuroradiology is a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the nervous system - namely the brain and spine. Interventional neuroradiology techniques make use of a thin tube called a catheter which is usually inserted into the arteries or veins through a tiny incision. With the help of imaging techniques, the internal organs and vessels are viewed and the catheter is placed at the desired spot to treat a particular condition.

Interventional neuroradiology techniques are minimally invasive as they are performed through a tiny incision, unlike the larger incisions that are associated with conventional open surgery.

What Disorders can be Treated through Interventional Neuroradiology?

Interventional neuroradiology is used to treat numerous conditions including:

  • Brain aneurysms: Bulges in the walls of arteries that supply blood to your brain
  • Tumours of the brain and spine
  • Vascular malformations such as arteriovenous malformation (AVM)
  • Strokes
  • Spinal conditions such as spine fractures

What are the Different Procedures in Interventional Neuroradiology?

The different endovascular neurosurgical procedures include:

Endovascular Coiling: A fine metal wire is inserted into the brain artery to block the blood flow and treat the aneurysm. The wire helps constrict the artery and reduces the risk of bursting by promoting unobstructed blood flow.

  • Carotid Artery Angioplasty/Stenting: This procedure involves the use of a fine metal scaffold called a stent and/or a tiny balloon to open a narrowed carotid artery. The carotid arteries carry blood from the neck area to the brain.
  • Cerebral Angiography: This procedure helps to observe the blood flow in the brain using a contrast dye that is injected into the brain artery via a catheter. 
  • Thrombolytic Therapy: This procedure involves the treatment of a blood clot by introducing clot-dissolving/clot-busting medications into the blood vessels of the brain.
  • Minimally-Invasive Spine Surgery: This procedure involves the treatment of spinal disorders with the help of small incisions. For example, spine fractures can be treated by injecting bone cement into the fractured vertebra.
  • Injections of the spine such as facet blocks and epidural blocks can also be given under X-ray guidance using small catheters.

What are the Benefits of Interventional Neuroradiology?

Undergoing an interventional neuroradiology treatment offers the following benefits:

  • Less blood loss
  • Reduced pain
  • Quicker recovery
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • The Society of British Neurological Surgeons
  • British Orthopaedic Association
  • British Association of Spine Surgeons
  • North American Spine Society