Interventional Radiology

The medical procedures performed in the Department of Clinical - Interventional Radiology from interventional radiologists are diagnostic and therapeutic.  They mostly concern benign and malignant conditions that can be treated with minimally invasive and highly targeted therapies. They are performed with local anesthesia under direct fluoroscopic monitoring, after a transdermal puncture, and they require a highly experienced and skilled medical team.

In the Department of Clinical - Interventional Radiology the following procedures are performed:

  • Diagnostic and therapeutic procedures (biopsy, vertebroplasty), drainage of abscess collection and bile vessels, angioplasty of the bile pore with the insertion of a stent, intra-arterial embolization. 
  • Thermal cautery with RF Ablation and Microwave Ablation. 
  • Embolization of tumor vessels.
  • Chemoembolization of liver and lungs.
  • Intra-arterial chemotherapy of abdominal organs and lungs.
  • Drainage of abscess collection and bile vessels, and angioplasty of the bile pore with the insertion of a stent.
  • Breast Scanning center, using a digital mammography system – Pap Test using the new “wet phase” cytology method – Laser colposcopy for gynaecological cancer –Colon scanning with or without the use of colonoscopy, using 128-slice Somatom C/T scan – Bronchoscopy Department for lung scanning – Laboratory tests for cancer markers, PSA, etc.
  • Laboratory and imaging diagnosis: C/T Scan –MRI –Angiography –Scintigraphy –PET Scan – Digital Mammography – Needle-Guided biopsy(FNA and Tru-cut) for examining breasts, lungs, prostate, esophagus, etc.
  • Staging of the disease using the most modern and specialized methods.

Surgery - Chemotherapy - Radiotherapy - Chemoembolism - Radio frequencies - Nuclear Medicine - Advanced diagnostic and therapeutic operations, such as thoracoscopy, mediastinoscopy, laparoscopic operations, sentinel lymph node technique, mammary gland ductoscopy.

The percutaneous ablation of tumors

The percutaneous ablation of lung tumors is a relatively new therapeutic method. With the direction of the CT scanner, a needle is transdermally inserted in the tumor. The radiofrequency channeled through the needle is applied on the tumor, causing high temperatures and thus achieving the controlled coagulative necrosis of the tumor.  Although the treatment of lung cancer in early stages is surgical, there are cases where, due to other concomitant medical problems, patients cannot be operated. Moreover, alternative therapeutic methods are sought for patients with more advanced cancer that don't respond to chemotherapy or radiation. Patients with limited metastatic lung cancer, who cannot be operated for other reasons, constitute a frequent medical problem. All the above mentioned patient groups are candidates for transdermal tumor ablation.

Local intra-arterial chemotherapy

Local intra-arterial chemotherapy for lung cancer up to metastatic stages is also an important therapy method for selected cases. With the above method and by arterial catheterization doctors administer chemotherapeutic drugs and embolic material locally on the tumor. So with smaller drug doses we achieve higher efficacy, avoiding generalized toxic side effects, even the tumor's ischemia that will lead to its minimization and possible elimination.

Drainage of abscess collection

Over the past two decades, the transdermal drainage of abscess collections from the body has replaced the, formerly used, surgical drainage. Transdermal drainage is achieved with the help of catheters under radiological monitoring, usually by the CT, with great accuracy, very high success rates and minimal complications.

In the Department of Interventional Radiology, the transdermal drainage of abscess collections is carried out with absolute success and is considered a routine operation. Hospitalization lasts one day or even a few hours and if there is no complication, the patient can return home.

Intra-arterial embolization

Intra-arterial embolization is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure targeting the selective occlusion of the blood vessels, mainly arteries, for therapeutic purposes. In medical science, the method of embolization is used to treat a variety of conditions.

Numerous successful embolizations are performed in our clinic to treat benign conditions, such as arteriovenous malformations (e.g. hemangiomas, hemangiomas with lipomas), peripheral angiodysplasia (e.g. Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome), treatment of bleeding of upper and lower digestive tract (whether from benign or malignant causes) and for the treatment of malignant tumors (e.g. sarcomas, melanomas, kidney tumors, lung tumors, endometrium tumors, soft tissue tumors, etc.).

Chemoembolization of malignant liver tumors

The intra-arterial chemoembolization is a method that achieves the transfer of high concentrations of chemotherapeutic drugs directly to the tumor through a transdermal, intra-arterial catheter and the ischemia and necrosis of the tumor, through the embolization of its feeding arteries.

Intra-arterial chemoembolization is generally well tolerated and serious complications are extremely rare. The most common side effect is called chemoembolization.

Our hospitals are visited for chemoembolization by patients with primary liver tumors (hepatocellular carcinoma, cholangiocarcinoma) or secondary liver metastases from other tumors (colorectal carcinoma, lung cancer, breast cancer, neuroendocrine tumors, 

kidney cancer, sarcoma, melanoma, soft tissue tumors, etc.).

Bile vessels drainage - Bile vessels angioplasty (Stent)

​Often enough, liver tumors are so sizable that compress and occlude the bile vessels or even invade them, resulting in the blockage of the bile. The bile then stagnates, causing toxic effects to the body, which can be fatal.

The drainage of the bile vessels in such cases must be done immediately, either simultaneously to the outside and to the intestine or -if possible- only outwardly with the help of a catheter (external drainage).

In cases where there is a blockage and a stent should be inserted, the vessels' patency can be ensured with angioplasty. The usual process includes the initial dilatation of the blocked or stenosed section of the vessels with a balloon and then the insertion of the stent.

Access in all cases is achieved transdermally and hospitalization lasts one day. Bile vessels drainage by catheters both external or internal, as well as angioplasty procedures with stent insertion are frequently performed in our clinic with very high success rates.

Metastatic liver disease

Liver is susceptible to cancer metastases, through the blood tract, particularly of the gastrointestinal system. The surgical treatment of the tumors is not always feasible, while systemic chemotherapy doesn't always generate the liver's expected response. In many of those cases, it is suggested to implement an intra-arterial chemo-embolization, in order to address the secondary foci in the liver. And this method has proved to generate very encouraging results.

Intra-arterial chemo-embolization for liver metastases is frequently performed in the Interbalkan Medical Center, with the administration of chemotherapeutic agents which are well tolerated by patients. Liver metastases may be derived from colon, lung, kidney, breast, pancreas, stomach, or ovarian cancer or from melanomas, sarcomas, neuroendocrine tumors, soft tissue tumors, etc. Hospitalization usually lasts one day and then the patient can return home. The final result depends on many factors, including the type of the primary tumor, the number and size of tumor foci, its localization, the overall health of the patient, the repeatability of the chemoembolization etc.

Related Videos

A. Drevelegas - Interventional radiologist


Athens Medical Center

Dr. Nikolaos Bontozoglou, MD, Fellowship, PhD

Head of CT / MRI / PET / CT Dept.

  • Fellowship CT, MRI, PET/CT Ohio State University
  • More than 50 publications in peer-review journals
  • More than 150 lectures at International and Local conventions

European Interbalkan Medical Center

Prof. Antonios Drevelegas

Director of Radiology Dept.

  • Professor in the Radiology Department of AUTH
  • Postgraduate studies scholarship at Giessen, Dusseldorf, Ohio State and San Francisco Universities

News By Page

Interventional Oncology: The rapidly evolving specialization in cancer therapy

Written by Dedes Ioannis MD, PhD, Interventional Radiologist - Interventional Oncologist, Interventional Radiology Department,  European Interbalkan Medical Center, Athens Medical Group

Why is interventional oncology the rapidly evolving specialization in cancer treatment? The results of 15 years of experience in the management of cases at the Department of Digital Angiography of the Interbalkan Medical Center of Thessaloniki, are presented by its head Dr. John Dedes, member of the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology Society of Europe (CIRSE) specialized in Interventional Radiology-Interventional Oncology (Frankfurt University Clinic) and a post-graduate (Germany, Great Britain, USA). His article:

“Interventional Oncology (IO) provides via minimally invasive methods targeted therapy of a cancer tumor, with the assistance of guided imagery and innovative techniques, thus minimizing the possibility of injury to healthy organs. Generally, it offers assistance to patients who can not have surgery either because of their compromised clinical condition, or because the size, location or tumor number (tumor foci) does not allow it. Also it gives prospect in patients where standard chemotherapy doe not have the desired effect.

Treatments are performed in two ways:

A) Intra-Arterial: By use of a microcatheter on the digital angiogram, chemotherapeutic drugs are effused directly into the tumor in high concentrations and embolism (obstruction with microspheres) of the arteries that supply blood to the tumor is performed, leading gradually to the shrinkage and necrosis of the tumor. It is usually regional (eg. intra-arterial chemoembolization of the liver).

B) Transdermal: With the patient on the CT, a thin needle electrode is positioned in the tumor. This caused overheating (burning 60-100 C) of the tumor within a few minutes (e.g. cauterization with radio frequency (RF) or microwaves (MW) of foci in the liver, lungs, kidneys).

Thus IO treatments are applied in the treatment of unresectable primary tumors of the liver (hepatocellular cancer, cholangiocarcinoma), lung (non small cell) or secondary tumors (liver and lung metastases) from other primary cancers such as colon, stomach, lung, kidney, ovarian, melanoma, sarcoma, neuroendocrine tumors, breast and others, where conventional treatments do not have the desired response. They are always done with the consent of the treating oncologist.

Also drainage and angioplasty of cholangioma offer significant aid in patients with obstructive jaundice. IO advantages include a good quality of life offered to patients with minimal intervention, less pain, fewer side effects and quick recovery. It contributes to increased life expectancy, while most treatments require one day of hospitalization

In several patients combination therapies are applied with chemoembolization and cauterization having spectacular results, as I announced in my speech at the world congress of (IO) in New York in May (WCIO 2015). Some patients with non-invasive hepatocellular carcinoma and a life expectancy of a few months, today surpass a survival of 10 years with a good quality of life.

Computed Tomography and Urology

Computed Tomography has been proved an especially useful method for the imaging of the urinary system. The present article shows its important contribution to the research if cases of lithiasis and haematuria.

In the CT department of the Iatriko of P. Faliro, operates a multiple scan spiral CT Scanner, 16 scans, with option to scan of the examined person, after the administration of intravenous contrast dye, with very thin cuts, up to 0,6 mm. having as a result the taking of high definition images, which are being processed via a PC and then a reconstruction is realized in multiple levels (frontal- sagittal MPR) (im.1) as well as in virtual reality (im.2) by displaying the total of the waste disposal system of the body (computed tomographic urography technique).

Based on the new applied techniques, the radiation doses have been drastically reduced, maintaining all excellent diagnostic results.

Researching Haematuria

Research on haematuria cases by the new computed tomography urography technique, offers many advantages, due to the option to track even very small damages, which could be located in any point of the urinary system.

The exam is initially a simple scan of the examined person, without preparation and then with the use of intravenous contrast dye very thin cuts are taken, which after reconstruction via PC, show the size and extend of the damage (im.3).

The sensitivity of the method reaches 90%-100% according to international references. The scans show the morphology of the renal parenchyma as well as the points of pathological taking of the contrast dye (im. 4) while during secreting phase is displayed the pelvicalyceal system, as well as the ureters and the bladder.

The reconstructions of the waste disposal system in virtual reality show not only the accessibility of ureters, as well as any damages inside their area (im. 5), unique advantage of the method, since it is not influenced by air or the content of the peptic tube.

The method is indicated for tracing damages of the renal parenchyma, which in order to become visible at the ultrasounds most times have reached a bigger size, such as in the case of damage of the bladder wall (im. 6)

In this last case are also displayed anatomic molecules around the bladder, so that the clinical doctor can collect all necessary information in order to further define treatment.

Urolithiasis research.

The research of lithiasis of the urinary system is a very simple procedure, since it does not need any preparation of the patient, while the result is immediate and accurate. In comparison with intravenous urography of traditional radiology, computed tomography is better, in most of the cases without the administration of contrast dye but only with a scan, giving the potential of imaging not only of the stones which are visible to simple x-rays, while if they are located along the ureters, their position is defined with accuracy, something that is a unique advantage of this test, because due to the air of the peptic system, research with the ultrasound method can’t examine the course of the uretersτην πορεία των ουρητήρων. Also there is the option of accurate measuring of the dimensions of the stone, in order to decide the treatment of the patient (surgical or conservative). (im. 7)


The contribution of Computed Tomography to the researching of cases of lithiasis and haematuria of the urinary system is very important today and is a valid option. 

By Aggeliki Dafnopoulou Radiologist, Scientific Supervisor of the Computed Tomography Department, of Iatriko P. Falirou.