UTMB's neuroendovascular/neurointerventional surgery team specializes in neuroradiology and minimally invasive techniques for the diagnosis and
treatment of conditions of the brain, head and neck, spine and spinal cord.
Neuroendovascular/Neurointerventional surgery (also commonly known as neurointerventional radiology) describes a treatment approach to conditions that occur within the vessels of the brain or within the spinal cavity. Utilized in place of more invasive procedures which require opening the skull or exposing the spinal column, neurointerventional procedures are minimally invasive, meaning they can be accomplished through tiny incisions no bigger than the size of a nickel.
For patients, the benefits of neurointerventional surgery include smaller incisions, less risk, faster recovery and less pain than traditional surgery. Procedures utilize sophisticated imaging techniques, during which our highly skilled physicians use tiny catheters (tubes) to place miniature instruments and materials in the blood vessels. Our interventional neuroradiologists specialize in using these devices (such as platinum coils, microparticles, microstents and microballoon catheters) to perform minimally invasive surgical repairs for neurovascular disorders.
Conditions treated include:
- Acute stroke
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage
- Intracerebral hemorrhage
- Brain aneurysms
- Arteriovenous malformations
- Arteriovenous fistula
- Tumor embolizations of head and neck
- Epistaxis (nosebleeds)
- Venous sinus stenting for medically refractory pseudotumor cerebri
- Carotid/vertebral artery dissections
- Carotid/vertebral artery stenting
- Percutaneous therapy of craniofacial vascular malformations
In the case of conditions affecting the brain, practitioners first insert a catheter, resembling a long tube, into the
groin and then thread it up through the vessels to the problem site. Once the catheter is in place, dependent on the condition, physicians can deliver medications or utilize medical devices to accomplish treatment.
Cerebral angiograms (a procedure that uses a special dye—contrast material—and X-rays to see how blood flows through the brain) help the skilled physicians in the UTMB Stroke, Neurovascular and Neurointerventional Program treat patients with the highest level of care and provide an insight to the problem areas in the brain.
For spinal anomalies (abnormalities) resulting from compression fractures, tumors of the spine or narrowing of the spinal canal, practitioners insert cannulas, again resembling tubes, directly at the problem site and work through them to alleviate any pressure on the nerve area in order to relieve the patient of pain.
In both cases, what makes it possible for practitioners to utilize this minimally invasive technique is technology which transmits
internal images of the brain or the spine on a large screen throughout the procedure allowing them to clearly visualize the problem area.