Vascular and interventional radiologists use their expertise in interpreting medical images (such as X-rays, ultrasound and CT) to guide catheters and other instruments through blood vessels or other pathways in the body. Imaging allows interventional radiologists to precisely locate targeted areas to perform minimally invasive procedures on nearly every organ system.

Most vascular and interventional radiology (VIR) procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, using a local anesthetic or moderate sedation. The goal of these minimally invasive procedures is to offer less risk, less pain and less recovery time compared to traditional surgery that requires general anesthesia and often a large incision.

Our team of interventional radiologists work with multidisciplinary care teams throughout the Froedtert & MCW health network, including cancer care, transplant, orthopaedics and vascular surgery. Together, team members determine your best treatment options, that may involve a VIR procedure or other treatment.

All of our vascular and interventional radiologists are fellowship trained and hold Interventional Radiology/Diagnostic Radiology (IR/DR) certificates from the American Board of Radiology. The Medical College of Wisconsin Division of Vascular and Interventional Radiology directs the only fellowship-training program of its kind in Milwaukee.

Our team is internationally recognized for research and leads the way in clinical trials to treat a variety of medical conditions using various interventional procedures. Our VIR team also has a highly collaborative translational research lab with an emphasis in interventional oncology. Translational research uses lab discoveries for the development of clinical trials in humans.

How Interventional Radiology Works

Most VIR procedures use a combination of real-time fluoroscopy (a continuous X-ray image on a monitor, much like an X-ray movie) with digital subtraction angiography (DSA). In DSA, a computer takes digital images of an area of the body. The computer can subtract (remove) various structures in an image to show only the blood vessels. Ultrasounds also provide access to veins and arteries.

Cancer treatment interventions are performed using computed tomography (CT) guidance, as well as fluoroscopic and angiographic guidance.

Our team works closely with Froedtert & MCW vascular surgeons to provide patients with vascular disease an opportunity for combined medical and procedural care. Two hybrid operating rooms allow for the combined performance of vascular surgery and interventional radiology procedures (such as endovascular aortic aneurysm repair), while maintaining the highest in quality imaging techniques.

Interventional Radiology Procedures

We use a wide range of VIR procedures to treat medical conditions such as cancer, spine fractures, uterine fibroids and cardiovascular disease. Conditions and procedures can include: