|Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty
Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are minimally invasive procedures for vertebral compression fractures (VCF), which are fractures in vertebra, the small bones that make up the spinal column.
When a vertebra fractures, the usual rectangular shape of the bone becomes compressed and distorted, causing pain. These compression fractures, which may involve the collapse of one or more vertebrae in the spine, are a common symptom and result of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that results in a loss of normal bone density, mass and strength, leading to a condition in which bones are increasingly porous or full or small holes and vulnerable to breaking. Vertebrae can also become weakened by cancer.
In vertebroplasty, physicians use image guidance to inject a special cement mixture through a hollow needle into the fractured bone. In kyphohplasty, a balloon is first inserted through the needle into the fractured bone to restore the height and shape of the vertebra. Then the balloon is removed and the cement mixture is injected into the cavity created by the balloon.
Stroke & Heart Prevention
An estimated 20 to 30 million Americans are at risk for various vascular diseases, including stroke, peripheral arterial disease, carotid artery disease and aortic aneurysms. Vascular disease outside the heart causes almost as much death and disability as heart disease, and more than any cancer.
If you are over age 50 and have one or more of the following known risk factors for vascular disease, you should consult your physician about radiology procedures that may be beneficial to you.
· Hypertension (High blood pressure)
· High cholesterol
· Family history of vascular and/or circulatory problems
Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability, and the third leading cause of death in the U.S. People with peripheral vascular disease are 4-5 times more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke. Early detection of vascular disease is your best opportunity to prevent serious, life-threatening complications.
Watch for these stroke symptoms if you think you or someone else is having a stroke:
- Trouble walking. If you're having a stroke, you may stumble or have sudden dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination.
- Trouble speaking. If you're having a stroke, you may slur your speech or may not be able to come up with words to explain what is happening. Try to repeat a simple sentence. If you can't, you may be having a stroke.
- Paralysis or numbness on one side of your body. If you're having a stroke, you may have sudden numbness, weakness or paralysis on one side of the body. Try to raise both your arms over your head at the same time. If one arm begins to fall, you may be having a stroke.
- Trouble seeing. If you're having a stroke, you may suddenly have blurred or blackened vision or may see double.
- Headache. A sudden, severe headache or an unusual headache, which may be accompanied by a stiff neck, facial pain, pain between your eyes, vomiting or altered consciousness, sometimes indicates you're having a stroke.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field instead of diagnostic (x-ray) to create sharp detailed pictures that show different types of tissue within the same organs. The parts of the musculoskeletal system that are most often imaged with MRI are the hips, knees, and shoulders but MRI are also used to study almost every joint in the body, including the ankles, wrists, and hands. An MRI allows the review of some body parts that may not be as easy to see with other methods of imagining.
This type of procedure typically consists of 2 to 6 sequences of pictures with each lasting 2 to 15 minutes and each sequence showing a cross-section of the body part. The MRI causes no pain but the patient may notice a warm feeling in the target area, which is normal. If a contrast injection is needed, you may feel discomfort at the injection site, and you may have a cool sensation at the site during the injection. The procedure creates loud tapping or knocking noises heard at certain phases of the exam so patients are typically offered earplugs or headphones with music to keep the patient relaxed during the exam.
Results from an MRI that may need pre-surgical planning are immediately discussed with your physician.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)
Uterine fibroid embolization provides a new alternative to hysterectomies for many women who suffer from the pain and heavy bleeding of uterine fibroids. Through endovascular techniques, Alliance physicians are able to localize and eliminate the blood supply to the fibroids, decreasing their size while leaving the uterus intact and the procedure has a very high success profile as a treatment for bulk-related symptoms and bleeding related to fibroids.
Advanced Body & Neurological Intervention
Neuro Interventional Radiologists offer treatment and management of disorders which includes aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), dural fistulas and acute stroke. The comprehensive approach to managing the emergency care of brain trauma victims increases the options available to patients. Advanced CT and MRI techniques allow Alliance Radiologists to more quickly identify the source and extent of brain trauma for quick appropriate treatments.
Interventional radiologists (IR) use their expertise in reading X-rays, ultrasound and other medical images to guide small instruments such as catheters through blood vessels to treat disease. These procedures are typically less invasive and much less costly then surgery. Here are just a few of the most common procedures preformed by Alliance IR physicians:
· Angiography is an x-ray exam of the arteries and veins to diagnose blockage and other blood vessel problems.
· Balloon Angioplasty helps open blocked or narrowed blood vessels by inserting a very small balloon in the vessel and inflating it.
· Embolization allows us to deliver a clotting agent directly to an area that is bleeding or to block blood flow to an aneurysm or fibroid tumor in the uterus.
· Needle biopsy is a diagnostic test for breast, lung and other cancers, which is an alternative to surgical biopsy.
Venous disease, including spider and varicose veins, is not simple a cosmetic problem. It is a real medical problem, with real symptoms that impact patient’s lives and if left untreated, varicose veins can progress and lead to significant complication, such as chronic swelling, vein inflammation, skin discoloration and ulcers. Alliance offers treatments that provide safe, effective and virtually pain-free way to treat painful and unsightly varicose veins, without surgical vein stripping, which was the primary treatment option in the past.
Breast Imaging & Diagnosis
Breast health awareness is an important element for a woman’s well being and we encourage all women to seek services that take control of their breast health. The following outlines basic breast health services that Alliance Radiology offers at all our facilities.
Mammography is a diagnostic (x-ray) examination of a woman’s breast. It is divided into two types: Screening and diagnostic.
A screening mammogram is an annual routine exam. Its goal is to detect breast cancer at its earliest stage in asymptomatic patients. The American College of Radiology recommends routine annual screening mammography beginning at age 40. Some societies have also recommended a baseline exam at age 35.
Diagnostic mammograms are for problem solving. Situations where a diagnostic mammogram might be ordered are: Palpable lump, abnormality on a screening mammogram, breast pain, discharge, etc. Mammography cannot prove that an abnormal area is cancer but it assists the radiologist with abnormalities needing additional work-up.
Ultrasound of the breast is another diagnostic test used for problem-solving. It uses sound-waves to determine if a mass is a cyst, a solid tumor or normal tissue. This procedure will further assess areas found on mammography, MRI, or palpable findings and it is also used as the guidance method for many biopsies.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is another procedure Alliance physicians can use to determine breast disease. It is oftentimes used for women with a recently diagnosed breast cancer, both to evaluate the known cancer and to look for additional cancers in the same or opposite breast. Any detection of lesions or abnormalities may require additional mammographic images, such as an ultrasound, or biopsy.
Core needle biopsy is the primary technique used to diagnosis most breast lesions and prevents the patient from undergoing surgery. The majority of lesion biopsies are benign but a few patients are found to have cancer and surgery is planned. Biopsies can be performed with mammographic (stereotactic), ultrasound, or MRI guidance. The procedure is performed with local anesthetic and is well tolerated by most patients.
Needle/Wire localization is performed prior to surgery using mammographic, ultrasonographic, or MRI guidance. The radiologist administers a local anesthetic and a small needle is inserted into the breast. Another image is obtained to make sure the needle is in a good position then a thin wire is inserted, and the needle is withdrawn. This procedure identifies the area that allows the surgeon to localize and remove the correct area of breast tissue.