Illustration of the liver in the body

Interventional radiology is a minimally invasive, image-guided procedure for precision diagnosis and treatment of conditions including those of the gastrointestinal (GI) system and liver.

Compared to open surgery, interventional radiology offers smaller incisions, less pain, reduced risk of infection, shorter hospital stays and faster recovery times.

These image-guided procedures use medical instruments, such as cameras and surgical tools, that are attached to a wire inside a small tube.

Doctors insert a tiny tube (or catheter) via a small incision in an artery, usually in the thigh. Imaging technologies such as CT, MRIfluoroscopy and ultrasound  help guide the catheter to the exact spot in the body for diagnosis or treatment.

At University of Maryland Medical Center, our interventional radiology specialists offer a range of treatments for gastrointestinal conditions including:

Liver (Portal Hypertension)

Cirrhosis causes scar tissue to build up on the liver and prevents it from filtering toxins from the blood. Portal hypertension is high blood pressure resulting from reduced blood flow through the liver because of cirrhosis.

Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt (TIPS)

This minimally invasive, nonsurgical treatment for portal hypertension helps make new connections between the blood vessels in your liver.

Our interventional radiologists use fluoroscopy, a type of X-ray, to guide a catheter containing a balloon and a metal mesh stent to a vein in your liver. We inflate the balloon to place the stent and connect the stent to one of the liver blood vessels that returns low-oxygen blood to the heart.

Balloon Occlusion Retrograde Transvenous Obliteration (BRTO)

BTRO is a minimally invasive treatment for swollen stomach and esophageal veins associated with portal hypertension.

Our interventional radiologists will insert a small catheter with a tiny balloon at one end and use imaging technology to guide it to the liver. We expand the balloon and inject medication into the blood vessel to stop the flow of blood.

Obstructions and Stones

Interventional radiology procedures offer minimally invasive options to treat kidney and gallstones as well as other types of bile duct blockages.

Lithotripsy (ESWL)

Lithotripsy, or extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), uses high-energy sound shockwaves to break up stones in your kidneys and ureter, the tube that carries urine from your kidneys to your bladder.

X-rays or ultrasound guides the shockwaves. We may place a tube in your kidneys to drain urine from your kidney until all the stone pieces are flushed out.


Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC) is an interventional radiology procedure that uses contrast material to develop images of the bile ducts. If we find gallstones PTC also allows for their removal.

Bile Duct Drainage and Stenting

Bile is a digestive juice your liver makes. Bile ducts move bile to your small intestine, where it helps break down fat and eliminates toxins.

Conditions like gallstones interrupt the flow of bile. PTC allows us to insert a catheter to drain excess bile.

We can insert biliary stents, small plastic or metal tubes to open the duct and allow bile to drain around an obstruction.

Gastrointestinal Bleeding

For bleeding in the upper and lower GI tract, we may use embolization. Your doctor will insert a small catheter in your groin or thigh and navigate to the affected area using X-ray guidance. A tiny wire coil, small particle or stent will be placed or medication will be injected to stop the bleeding.

Liver Cancer Conference

Liver cancer
This conference on December 8, 2023, presented by the UM School of Medicine, provides CME credit for health professionals.
Liver Cancer Conference