Interventional Radiology Team Takes on Challenging Cases
After Christie Bonadio of Port Jefferson Station learned that her breast cancer had invaded her spine and her liver, her oncologist, Jeffrey Vacirca, MD, referred her to the Interventional Radiology (IR) Department at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital. Having been there years earlier for the removal of a vena cava filter designed to prevent blood clots from reaching her lungs, she was comfortable returning to Mohammad Bilal, MD, Director of Vascular and Interventional Radiology at Mather.
“I already knew Dr. Bilal and I trusted him,” she said.
She underwent a biopsy on a liver mass under CAT scan guidance and as well as a liver tumor embolization, in which blood vessels feeding the tumor were closed off, essentially starving the mass. She may undergo percutaneous liver mass ablation, a treatment that delivers destructive energy to destroy a tumor without surgically removing it.
“They’re wonderful. The whole staff is so wonderful,” said Bonadio. “Dr. Bilal keeps you calm even if you have no medical background. You knew everything he was doing. I’m a nurse, but it wouldn’t have mattered.”
Mather Hospital has had an IR division since the late 1980’s. Patients were primarily referred by their community-based physicians for special procedures using minimally invasive imaging technology.
Now, the IR division has expanded to include an office practice called Mather Interventional Radiology Associates (MIRA), located in Mather’s Weiss Pain Management Pavilion. The practice offers consultative services, treatment options, community outreach and education. Patients may now be referred directly by their physicians or self-referred. According to Bilal, , the expansion of the program allows IR to clinically practice alongside referring medical and surgical practices and provide long-term care for patients.
Mather’s IR team specialties include:
• Renovascular Intervention – evaluating and treating blood vessel narrowing that contributes to high blood pressure, potentially related to the arteries of the kidney.
• Vertebral Augmentation (Balloon Kyphoplasty) – treating bone fractures of the spine by injecting biologic bone cement for stability and pain relief in patients, especially those with osteoporosis.
• Women’s Health Interventions – treating fibroid tumors of the uterus using x-ray to deliver small particles that block the blood flow, causing the fibroids to shrink; treating enlarged painful pelvic veins using a small catheter to deliver or deposit agents that seal the vein; using a catheter and x-ray guidance to reopen closed fallopian tubes for aiding in fertility options.
• Interventional Oncology - treating certain liver, lung, bone or kidney tumors non-surgically, implanting and maintaining long-term venous access devices for chemotherapy, dissolving blood clots or implanting devices to capture blood clots associated with cancer conditions.
“We can offer an exceptional clinical service at Mather. Many patients don’t wish to travel into the city and be away from their families and familiar places that give them comfort. For us to be able to offer these procedures at the same level of care as any tertiary hospital is tremendous.”