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The Plus Side of Minimal

The Plus Side of Minimal

The Rise of Minimally Invasive Image-guided Procedures


Jessica had a choice.


Face a lifetime of continued heavy bleeding and excruciating pain. Or undergo a major surgery to extract the cause of her symptoms – which would leave her without the possibility of having children and which would also mean premature menopause. Not exactly a great menu of options.


The thought of a painful and lengthy recovery was bad enough – but temporary. What’s not temporary is the finality of a hysterectomy. No children of her own, early menopause and the resulting effects that come with it, not to mention the risks of the surgery itself. Either that, or face a lifetime of pain and exasperating issues.


At this point, Jessica figured she’d just choose the lesser of two evils. So she opted for the hysterectomy in hopes of living a more comfortable life.


She was on her way to the hospital to have the surgery when she heard an ad on the radio for Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), a procedure that could end her pain and suffering, but without the drastic operation.


She was desperate for another option, so she pulled over, canceled her surgery, and made an appointment for a UFE consultation.


Confession time. Jessica is a fictional character, created for this article. But her story is all too real. Many women on the brink of hopelessness are opting for major surgery, not knowing that there is an alternative with less pain, less cost, less risk and less recovery time.


UFE is one of several Minimally Invasive Image-guided Procedures (MIIPs) that Interventional Radiologists perform every day. Some are even using the radial artery in the wrist, which doesn’t require an incision and often means an even quicker recovery versus the more traditional femoral artery procedures (accessed through the groin area).


And because patients are becoming responsible for more and more of their health costs, a rise in consumerism in healthcare is occurring. Patients demand more value, quicker service and faster recovery times, and hospitals that provide MIIPs are satisfying these demands.


The use of minimally invasive image-guided procedures is growing fast, and evolving techniques and new technologies are making them more and more attractive to patients… and their physicians. With pre and post-procedure MRIs & CTs, they are becoming increasingly appealing to hospital administrators as well.


According to Advisory Board, the outlook for Interventional Radiology’s growth is strong because it aligns with these significant trends in health care:


  1. Cost-effective care: Lower cost high-quality care sets organizations up for success in risk-based payment models
  2. Attracts consumers: The minimally invasive nature of interventional procedures (aka MIIPs) attracts patients who shop before receiving care
  3. Available outpatient: With a quick procedure and recovery time, many Interventional Radiology services are outpatient, mirroring the broader trend away from inpatient to outpatient and freestanding settings


In fact, another Advisory Board report indicates that UFE procedures are projected to grow 93% by 2023 and Radiofrequency Liver Tumor Ablation procedures have a projected growth of 97% over the same time period.


With the high potential for growth in cancer therapies, MIIPs provide additional opportunities for hospitals to participate in the federal government’s billion-dollar Cancer Moonshot to accelerate cancer research.


These procedures are performed primarily by Interventional Radiologists (IRs). IRs are fellowship trained experts who routinely assist in the care of patients suffering from cancer, vertebral compression fractures, aortic aneurysms, potential loss of limbs and various other conditions.


Having interaction with such a broad spectrum of specialties, IRs are very active in hospitals’ communities; with representation at Tumor Boards, Endocrine Case Conferences, Peer Review, Limb Preservation Programs, Grand Rounds and more.


IRs — and the work they do — are in high demand… and with good reason.


Procedures like UFE, Interventional Oncology, DVT Treatment, Interventional Spine, and Endovascular Aneurysm Repair are increasing the quality of life, and in many cases saving the lives of thousands of Americans every day.


These patients have become their hospitals’ loudest and most loyal brand ambassadors, helping to not only grow their IR programs, but in attracting world-class physicians, and enhancing their community goodwill.


This video from The American College of Radiology (ACR) further demonstrates the value that MIIPs and Interventional Radiologists bring to their hospital partners on a daily basis.



Is your hospital promoting all of the benefits that MIIPs can deliver? Or are your patients on their own to find out – potentially somewhere else?


Find out more about Interventional Radiology of Colorado and our Interventionalists.