Skip to main content

About Us
Interventional Radiology

At UNC Radiology, we utilize various imaging modalities to conduct a wide range of diagnostic tests for different medical conditions. Each modality has its distinct features, including the images it captures, the equipment it employs, and the conditions it aids radiologists in diagnosing. Discover more about our primary modalities for various imaging tests, which include X-ray, CT, MRI, ultrasound, and PET scans.

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure to allow stabilization and height restoration of a vertebral compression fracture. It can significantly and rapidly reduce pain allowing patients to get back to their life.

Vertebral compression fractures can significantly limit a patient’s functioning, causing symptoms of severe pain with movement, hunching over of the back, and inability to perform normal functions such as getting out of bed. Numerous treatment options exist including bracing, physical therapy, kyphoplasty, and spinal surgery. Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive option for the treatment of painful compression fractures. Through two tiny incisions in the back, the vertebral body is stabilized in a short, outpatient procedure. This allows patients to quickly return to their normal activities. This can also be used in the sacrum for the treatment of osteoporotic sacral fractures. In conjunction with ablation, this can be used to treat tumors of the vertebral bodies with or without a fracture. Rapid, durable, pain reduction is possible.

Liver immune-oncology, also known as immuno-oncology (I-O) or cancer immunotherapy, is a specialized field of medicine and research that focuses on harnessing the body’s immune system to combat liver cancer or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This form of liver cancer is known for being particularly challenging to treat and often resistant to traditional cancer therapies.

The liver’s immune-oncology approach involves the development and application of various immunotherapies designed to stimulate the patient’s immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. Liver immune-oncology is particularly promising because the liver is an immunologically rich organ, making it a potential target for immunotherapies. However, the effectiveness of these therapies can vary from patient to patient, and ongoing research is focused on improving response rates and minimizing side effects.

The field of liver immune-oncology has made significant strides in recent years, and some immunotherapies have been approved for the treatment of liver cancer. As research continues, it is expected that more effective and personalized immunotherapies will be developed to improve the outcomes and quality of life for patients with liver cancer.

Discover renewed comfort and improved quality of life with Prostatic Artery Embolization (PAE). Our expert interventional radiologists offer this minimally invasive procedure tailored to alleviate symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia in male patients, enhancing urinary function and well-being.

Experience a breakthrough solution for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and its associated lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) through Prostatic Artery Embolization (PAE). At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Division of Interventional Radiology, we take pride in offering cutting-edge image-guided interventional procedures that enhance the quality of life for our patients. PAE is a state-of-the-art, minimally invasive procedure meticulously performed by our skilled interventional radiologists. By selectively blocking blood flow to the prostate gland, PAE effectively reduces its size, addressing urinary obstruction and alleviating bothersome symptoms such as frequent urination, weak urine flow, and nocturnal awakenings. Unlike traditional surgical options, PAE requires no incisions, resulting in shorter recovery times and minimal discomfort. Our dedicated team is committed to providing personalized care and ensuring a seamless patient journey from consultation to recovery and follow-ups. Rediscover comfort, confidence, and freedom with PAE, your pathway to a life unhindered by BPH-related concerns.

At UNC, the Division of interventional radiology offers several minimally invasive treatments for long-standing pain. These may be an option for patients with cancer-related pain who cannot have surgery or those on multiple pain medications without relief. Options for pain relief include:

Nerve Blocks

A nerve block refers to the injection of medications around a specific nerve or bundle of nerves to block the pain signals from that area of your body. It is usually temporary, lasting anywhere from a few days to several weeks depending on the medications used. Nerve blocks can be performed before or during other procedures to help reduce post-procedural pain. UNC interventional radiology does nerve blocks of the celiac plexus, superior hypogastric plexus, transversus abdominis plane (TAP), and other sites.


Cryoneurolysis is a process of freezing nerve cells to destroy them and reduce the sensation of pain from a certain area in the body.

High blood pressure in the liver can lead to bleeding and/or fluid build-up in the abdomen. Our Interventional Radiologists offer many procedures to help decrease and prevent this from occurring.

Portal hypertension, or increased blood pressure within the liver’s portal veins, is often caused by advanced liver disease. This can lead to abnormally enlarged veins and bleeding and/or ascites or fluid build-up in the abdomen. Our Interventional Radiologists work with our medical liver physicians to treat these patients. Our advanced specialists offer a variety of treatments for this condition, including:

  • Decreasing the pressure by placing a shunt through the liver (transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt or TIPS procedure), which decreases the risk of bleeding and decreases the production of ascites
  • Drainage of ascites fluid, including removing the fluid (paracentesis), placing a permanent tube for intermittent draining (tunneled peritoneal catheter placement), or shunt placement to redirect the fluid into a vein (Denver shunt placement)
  • Blocking off (embolizing) the abnormal vein either to prevent bleeding or after bleeding has occurred (variceal embolization or obliteration)
  • Decreasing blood flow into the portal veins (splenic embolization)

Our Interventional Radiologists evaluate both outpatients in clinic and inpatients with this condition to help determine the best approach for treatment and management.

A pulmonary arteriovenous malformation (PAVM) is a rare pulmonary condition described as a pathologic right-to-left shunt which impairs gas exchange and normal filtration of venous blood through the pulmonary circulation. PAVMs are most commonly associated with hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT).
Tumors in the kidney can be benign or cancerous. Depending on your history and imaging (ultrasound, CT, or MRI), UNC offers several minimally invasive treatments for kidney tumors, which are all performed by highly trained interventional radiologists.


Cryoablation is a process of freezing tumor cells to destroy them. If your tumor has not spread to other parts of the body, cryoablation is potentially curative.


Embolization refers to the process of blocking blood flow to a specific area in order to kill the cells. Over time, this should make the tumor shrink in size.

Uterine fibroids are extremely prevalent and can cause severe symptoms in some patients. Uterine artery embolization provides a minimally invasive option for the treatment of fibroids and adenomyosis with preservation of the uterus.

Fibroids affect ~80% of African American and ~70% of white women in the US. It is extremely common, and symptoms can range from mild discomfort to significant bleeding, bloating, constipation, and frequent urination. Stories of excessive bleeding causing women to wear diapers, require blood or iron transfusions, or stay home for fear of having an “accident” are not uncommon. While fibroids are the leading cause of hysterectomy in the US, there exists other minimally invasive options to allow uterine preservation. Many women are either not offered these options or told they are suboptimal. Uterine artery embolization treats fibroids from the inside by blocking the blood supply to the fibroids, causing them to shrink and the symptoms to improve or go away completely. This is through a pinprick incision in the wrist or groin, allowing rapid recovery and return to normal life. This procedure can also be used for the treatment of adenomyosis, placenta accreta spectrum disorders, and postpartum bleeding.

Interventional radiology (IR) offers several minimally invasive procedures for the treatment of varicose veins, which are less invasive and typically have shorter recovery times than traditional surgical methods. These interventional radiology treatments are effective in addressing varicose veins and can help alleviate symptoms. Here are some common IR procedures for varicose veins:

  1. Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA):
    • EVLA, also known as endovenous laser treatment (EVLT), is a minimally invasive procedure that uses laser energy to close off and seal the affected varicose veins. A thin laser fiber is inserted into the vein under ultrasound guidance.
    • The laser emits energy that heats and seals the vein, causing it to collapse. Blood flow is rerouted to healthier veins, and the treated vein eventually fades.
    • EVLA is highly effective for treating larger varicose veins and is associated with minimal discomfort and a short recovery period.
  2. Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA):
    • Radiofrequency ablation is a procedure that uses radiofrequency energy to heat and close off the affected varicose veins. A catheter with a radiofrequency electrode is inserted into the vein, and the heat generated causes the vein to contract and seal.
    • Like EVLA, RFA reroutes blood flow to healthier veins. It is effective for treating larger varicose veins and has a quick recovery time.
  3. Foam Sclerotherapy:
    • Sclerotherapy is a procedure in which a sclerosing agent is injected into the varicose veins to irritate the vein walls and cause them to close off. Foam sclerotherapy involves mixing the sclerosing agent with air or gas to create a foam that can displace blood and contact the vein walls more effectively.
    • This procedure is typically used for smaller varicose veins and spider veins. Several sessions may be needed to achieve desired results.
  4. Microphlebectomy (Ambulatory Phlebectomy):
    • Microphlebectomy is an IR procedure used to remove medium-sized varicose veins that are close to the surface of the skin.
    • Small incisions are made over the affected veins, and the veins are gently removed using a special tool. This procedure is minimally invasive and results in minimal scarring.
  5. Catheter-Directed Foam Sclerotherapy:
    • In this procedure, a catheter is guided into the varicose vein using ultrasound, and a foam sclerosing agent is delivered directly into the vein. This method is used for larger veins, including those with perforator vein reflux.

Interventional radiology treatments for varicose veins are generally well-tolerated and associated with shorter recovery times compared to traditional surgical approaches. They offer effective relief from the symptoms of varicose veins, such as pain, swelling, and cosmetic concerns, while minimizing scarring and discomfort. Consult with a vascular specialist or interventional radiologist to determine the most suitable treatment option based on the size and location of your varicose veins.

Unlock the power of precision with Selective Venous Samplings. Our specialized interventional radiology team offers this advanced procedure, enabling accurate localization of hormone overproduction sources. Experience personalized care that guides surgical decisions, transforming your path to optimal health.

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Division of Interventional Radiology, we empower patients with Selective Venous Samplings— innovative techniques designed to unveil the sources of hormone excess and inform critical surgical choices. Whether addressing adrenal gland, parathyroid gland, or ovarian concerns, this procedure employs our interventional radiologists’ expertise to pinpoint the origin of abnormal hormone secretion. For those with primary aldosteronism considering adrenal vein sampling, our meticulous approach assists in identifying ideal candidates for surgery, enhancing the prospects of successful treatment. Similarly, parathyroid vein sampling, ovarian vein sampling, and arterial stimulation with hepatic venous sampling are part of our comprehensive repertoire, aiding in diagnosing and managing various endocrine disorders. With a commitment to individualized care, our team guides you from consultation to recovery, delivering accurate insights that pave the way toward optimal health and well-being.