Northern Dutchess Hospital’s interventional radiology offers alternative to surgery

By Emil Shih, MD  |  8/20/2018

With cancer, fibroids, liver disease, kidney blockages and other complex medical issues, interventional radiology can be used as an alternative to surgery.

Northern Dutchess Hospital has opened its interventional radiology suite, bringing some of the most innovative, least invasive and effective treatments in medicine to Rhinebeck.

We caught up with Dr. Emil Shih of Hudson Valley Radiologists, the medical director of radiology at the hospital, to learn more about what this means for patients.

He explains:

During an interventional radiology, or IR, procedure, the radiologist makes a tiny incision in the skin. Then, the radiology specialist uses medical imaging called fluoroscopy, like an X-ray movie, to help guide a thin wire and catheter through a blood vessel to reach the source of the pain or disease. 

Here are some specific examples of how this highly advanced technology can be used to treat illnesses:

  • When there is a kidney blockage to the bladder, we make a tiny incision in the patient's back to place a stent that allows urine to flow properly.
  • With liver cirrhosis, we place stents through a small incision in the neck to bypass abnormal veins and reduce bleeding and pressure.
  • To treat uterine fibroids, we can perform fibroid embolization, a technique that deprives the tumor of nutrients, shrinking it in size.
  • Chemotherapy can also be delivered through a catheter directly to a tumor during an IR procedure.

In many of these instances, IR offers a much lower risk than the alternative – surgery. Your incision is small, so your risk for infection is lower. Your pain is reduced and hospital stay shorter, in most cases.

It's really state-of-the-art technology that can be used routinely across all fields of medicine. As Northern Dutchess Hospital continues to add new services and recruit highly specialized physicians, we can evolve the ways in which we use our IR suite to treat disease.

It's exciting to be part of cutting-edge medicine and have these advanced tools to work with right here in Rhinebeck.

Dr. Emil Shih is with Hudson Valley Radiologists and is the medical director of radiology at Northern Dutchess Hospital. He is board certified and trained in interventional and neuro radiology. Speak to your physician to find out if interventional radiology is right for you.