Neurointerventional Radiology

UMass Memorial’s team of fellowship-trained neurointerventional radiologists are world famous for their expertise in treating stroke, brain tumors and other vascular (blood flow) conditions of the brain and central nervous system.

With their extensive training and today’s most advanced imaging technology, they perform groundbreaking minimally invasive surgery.

This team also is involved in clinical trials to develop new devices and imaging technology, giving you access to the very latest advances in neurointerventional treatment.

Because of this expertise, patients come from around the world to seek treatment from UMass Memorial’s Neurointerventional Radiology team. As a result, today we have one of the busiest programs of its kind in the entire Northeast.

The Conditions Neurointerventional Radiology Can Treat

Neurointerventional radiologists can treat a wide variety of conditions:

  • Stroke (ischemic and hemorrhagic)
  • Brain and spinal tumors (benign and malignant)
  • Brain aneurysms (bulges on an artery wall)
  • Brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs, a tangle of abnormal connections between arteries and veins)
  • Narrowed carotid and intracranial (within the skull) arteries
  • Blood clots in the veins and arteries of the retina (part of the eye)
  • Dural arteriovenous fistulas (abnormal connections between arteries and veins on the surface of the brain)
  • Hemangiomas (benign tumors made up of blood vessels)
  • Spinal vascular malformations
  • Nosebleeds

How Neurointerventional Radiology Works

Neurointerventional radiologists advance tiny tubes called catheters into the body, typically through an artery or vein. Using radiology imaging – like X-rays or MRI – they guide the catheter to the site of a tumor, blood clot, aneurysm or other problem.

Once at the site, they can use special equipment to treat the problem. This approach to treatment is called endovascular, because it takes place inside a blood vessel.

The Neurointerventional Radiology Procedures We Perform at UMass Memorial

UMass Memorial has a state-of-the art neurointerventional surgery suite – equipped with the latest imaging technology – where all our minimally invasive procedures are performed, including:

Lifesaving Stroke Treatment

UMass Memorial is designated a Primary Stroke Center by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Our team is available 24/7, and we perform more neurointerventional procedures to treat stroke than any other hospital in the state, including:

  • Delivering clot-busting drugs to dissolve a blood clot that is blocking blood flow to the brain and causing a stroke
  • Using state-of-the-art clot retriever devices to mechanically remove the clot and restore blood flow
  • We also help prevent strokes by placing tiny stents to prop open narrowed carotid, basilar and vertebral arteries (arteries that supply blood to the brain)

Brain Aneurysm Treatment

UMass Memorial is a leader in endovascular treatment of brain aneurysms:

  • Flow diverter technology – We pioneered the development and use of this device that is placed in the artery to divert blood flow into an aneurysm
  • Coil embolization – Used for treating ruptured and unruptured aneurysms, curled metal coils are released into abnormal blood vessels, obstructing blood flow (also used to stop abnormal blood flow in AVMs).
  • Liquid embolics – Liquid material is injected through a catheter into the affected area where it hardens, reducing pressure and the risk of rupture (also used for AVMs and nosebleeds).

Brain Tumor and Spinal Tumor Treatment

Our neurointerventional radiologists work with neurosurgeons, assisting them by blocking blood flow into tumors (embolization). This helps to shrink the tumor before the surgeon removes it, making surgery easier and safer.

Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty for Back Pain

These minimally invasive procedures are done to treat spinal compression or compression fractures that may be caused from osteoporosis, tumors or other conditions.

  • Kyphoplasty involves inflating a balloon at the fracture site then filling it with bone cement, which provides stability, restores its former shape and prevents future collapse of the vertebra.
  • Vertebroplasty involves injecting bone cement through a small hole in the skin directly into a fractured vertebra to help relieve the pain of osteoporotic compression fractures.

Research to Develop New Treatments, Technology

Working closely with the UMass Memorial New England Center for Stroke Research, we are continually developing and testing new interventional approaches, imaging technology and medical devices for treating cerebrovascular diseases (diseases of the blood vessels that supply the brain).

This means that our patients often have access to new treatments before they’re available anyplace else, and our doctors have more experience with a new device even before it’s FDA approved.