August 21, 2019

MedStar Interventional Radiology Changes Lives

Interventional Radiology

For Mara Cutchember of Lexington Park, encountering the Interventional Radiology Department of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown was life-changing.

She had been suffering for years every month as her menstrual cycle had become excruciating. Dealing with heavy bleeding and horrible pain, she was often bedridden due to symptoms caused by fibroids. “I felt like I was in labor for three to four days a month,” Ms. Cutchember said. “It had gotten worse, so that’s when I said, ‘I really need to do something about this.’ ”

After suffering for years, Ms. Cutchember began talking to her gynecologist about what she could do to stop her pain. A hysterectomy was considered, but, luckily, she had also read about uterine fibroid embolization and her gynecologist recommended the procedure.

Scott Kuo, MD, of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Interventional Radiology team performed Ms. Cutchember’s surgery in December 2016.

“It is life-changing,” said Ms. Cutchember, who no longer struggles with monthly pain. “Sometimes I forget I am having my menstrual cycle now.”

Uterine fibroid embolization is typically a fairly fast procedure – 60 to 90 minutes – performed with minimal sedation. The image-guided procedure is minimally invasive and allows patients to recover more rapidly than those who must undergo a full hysterectomy. Ms. Cutchember’s recovery was four to five days versus six weeks for a more extensive surgery.

The procedure Dr. Kuo performed on Ms. Cutchember is known as Uterine Artery Embolization, which allows delivery of embolic agents to the uterus and fibroids. The arteries that provide blood to the fibroids are blocked, which causes them to shrink, thus eliminating the painful monthly symptoms.

“Many people do not realize that MedStar St Mary’s has an interventional radiology department that is ready to serve the community with different types of procedures and treatment options,” said Dr. Kuo. “Mara’s story is a great example of how we are using state-of-the-art technology to give patients faster recovery times and better outcomes through less invasive procedures.”

What is Interventional Radiology?

Advanced imaging like ultrasound, CAT scans, X-rays, MRI scans, and other methods, allow interventional radiologists to see inside a patient’s body, allowing them to treat complex conditions with minimally invasive procedures. IR can reduce the length of hospital stays, decrease the chance of complications, and save lives.

IR Procedures Performed at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown

  • Angiograms/Venograms
  • Dialysis interventions
  • Line placement (ports, dialysis catheters)
  • IVC filter placement/removal
  • Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty
  • Thoracentesis/Paracentesis
  • Percutaneous image-guided biopsy
  • Embolization
  • Chemoembolization
  • Radiofrequency
  • Uterine artery
  • Varicocele/Ovarian
  • Varicose vein ablation
  • Feeding tube placement
  • Biliary and nephrostomy tube placement

Visit MedStar’s IR website to learn more about this field of medicine.

For more information and one-click access to a full list of resources available at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, visit their Leader Page.

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