Medicine’s best-kept secret: Interventional Radiology

Adam Winick, MD

Faster healing, less pain

THE EXPERT: Adam Winick, MD
HIS EXPERTISE: Interventional Radiology
Adam Winick, MD, is an Interventional Radiologist at UVA Vein and Vascular Care Gainesville. For more information about the doctors and services offered, visit uvahealth.com/gainesvilleradiology or call our Vein and Vascular Care Clinic at 703-712-6062. 

In Interventional Radiology, doctors use medical imaging (like Fluoroscopy, CT scans, or Ultrasound) to guide minimally invasive surgical procedures to diagnose and treat many medical conditions. These minimally invasive procedures are often an alternative to traditional surgery.

We sat down with Dr. Adam Winick, Associate Professor of Vascular and Interventional Radiology at the University of Virginia and Interventional Radiologist at UVA Radiology Vein and Vascular Care Gainesville, and asked him to shed some light on Interventional Radiology, medicine’s best-kept secret.

Why do patients need to know about Interventional Radiology?

To treat you, Interventional Radiologists usually only need to make very small incisions in your body. From those small incisions, sometimes only a quarter of an inch or less in length, doctors can guide needles and catheters through your veins, arteries or other parts of the body to reach areas that need treatment.

Because Interventional Radiology avoids large incisions, it might be an option for patients who are not capable of undergoing a traditional surgery. It also means lower costs, less pain, a shorter recovery time, and fewer complications than traditional surgical options. That’s why Interventional Radiology has become such an exciting field for patients: it provides life-changing results to more patients than ever before and for most, gets them back to their normal life more quickly.

What common conditions do you treat?

Interventional Radiology treats hundreds of conditions and diseases. Some of the most common conditions we treat include varicose and spider veins, which can cause leg pain; uterine fibroids, which can cause excessive menstrual cramps and bleeding; peripheral artery disease, which can cause leg pain when walking; benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which can cause problems with urination in men; liver disease, and different types of tumors and cancer.

How would an Interventional Radiologist treat uterine fibroids or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), for example?

One tool is called embolization, which means blocking off the blood supply to a tumor or area of the body that needs to shrink. This is a tool we use to treat both uterine fibroids and benign prostatic hyperplasia, which is a common condition that causes difficulty with urination as men get older.

By reducing the blood supply to uterine fibroids, for example, they begin to shrink and the uterus will fully recover without the need for a hysterectomy or other surgery. This is called uterine fibroid embolization. For men with BPH, reducing blood flow to the enlarged prostate will cause it to shrink and relieve symptoms. This treatment is called prostatic artery embolization.

How easy is it to refer myself for these treatments?

For many Interventional Radiology procedures, you can refer yourself. For varicose and spider vein concerns, for example, you can call our clinic and schedule a consultation immediately. For uterine fibroids or peripheral arterial disease, you can also call and come in to talk with us about your options. 

For other conditions or treatments, you may need to talk to your doctor first. Then he or she can refer you to Interventional Radiology if you are a good candidate for treatment.

What advice do you have for patients who’d prefer more minimally-invasive options?

All patients have choices regarding their healthcare. If you want to explore more minimally and non-invasive treatments for your condition or disease, please ask your doctor for more information about all of your choices, including Interventional Radiology. 

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