Interventional Radiology at Boston Children's Hospital performs more than 6,000 minimally invasive, image-guided procedures each year to diagnose and treat diseases in children. Our interventional radiologists are experts in doing interventions in babies and children of all ages.
Interventional radiology can deliver treatment through catheters or tiny instruments inserted into small punctures or natural body openings with the aid of images made by computed tomography (CT), fluoroscopy (x-ray) or ultrasound. It is routinely used to perform biopsies and to place shunts, feeding and drainage tubes, and peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs). It can also be an alternative to surgery for serious medical conditions, such as vascular malformations, blood clots and kidney or liver abnormalities.
Our physicians, nurse-practitioners, technologists and nurses are trained in special techniques appropriate to the pediatric patients and use tools and imaging equipment created or modified for children. Because some interventional procedures rely on x-ray technology, we have adapted our equipment and protocols to keep radiation exposure as low as reasonably achievable (the ALARA standard) during your child's procedure.
Vascular anomalies: We are a worldwide referral center for the treatment of vascular anomalies for pediatric patients.
Angiography in children: Specialized skills and different catheter systems are needed to successfully perform angiograms—the examination of blood vessels with high-resolution X-rays—on children.
Interventional neuroradiology: Our interventional neuroradiologists are among a handful of subspecialists in North America who routinely treat aneurysms and arteriovenous vascular malformations of the brain and spine in children.
Radiofrequency ablation: This is a technique that allows placement of an electrode through a needle to "burn" certain bone lesions and tumors, reducing pain and usually eliminating the need for major surgery.
Sedation: Our nurses and anesthesiologists work together to determine whether sedation or anesthesia is needed for your child's procedure. Anesthesia is provided by the hospital's anesthesia service, while sedation is administered and monitored by our specially credentialed nurses.
Enteric access: We perform enteric accesses (gastrostomy and jejunostomy tubes) on high-risk children. We also maintain and change these tubes as needed.
Interventionalist Featured in National Geographic Documentary
Ahmad Alomari, MD was part of the Children's Hospital team that treated a Vietnamese boy with a disfiguring condition. Watch a clip
What is Interventional Radiology?
Interventional radiology is a minimally invasive way of assessing disease and delivering targeted treatments. Interventional radiologists (or interventionalists) are board-certified physicians with advanced training in minimally invasive therapy guided by imaging tools such as fluoroscopy (X-ray), computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Many diseases that once required surgical treatment can be treated nonsurgically by interventional radiologists with less risk, less pain, and faster recovery time.
How does IR work?
Children coming for an interventional radiology procedure are treated in our suite on the second floor of the main hospital. The procedure rooms are equipped with a variety of imaging technologies that allow interventional radiologists to see inside the body as they are performing the procedure. Often this involves threading catheters through the blood vessels or organs in order to diagnose the disease or deliver treatment through tiny instruments.
When might an interventional radiology procedure be needed?
Interventional radiology is routinely used to manage abnormal blood vessels, perform biopsies, place feeding tubes, drainage tubes and central venous lines. It can also be an alternative to surgery in some serious medical conditions such as blood clots, kidney or liver abnormalities and some tumors.