Therapeutic Gastrointestinal (GI) Treatments

Clinical Services: Interventional Radiology
Upper East Side
525 East 68th Street
New York, NY 10065
(646) 962-0941
(646) 962-5757
Upper East Side
1283 York Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10065
(646) 962-0941
(646) 962-5757
Upper West Side
2315 Broadway, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10024
(646) 962-0941
(646) 962-5757

There are numerous procedures available to treat gastrointestinal conditions, which are all highly delicate. Therefore, it is important to seek care from highly trained and experienced interventional radiologists, such as those at Weill Cornell Medicine.

Our team can provide expert treatment for all interventional radiology procedures for the gastrointestinal tract, including:

Fistula Closure

A fistula is a rare connection between two organs. Using endoscopes (long, thin tubes with lighting attached), our interventional radiologists close fistulas with stents and other tools. These procedures are minimally invasive and can be performed on an outpatient basis (no need to spend the night).

Double Balloon Enteroscopy

During this procedure, your interventional radiologist uses a long endoscope that is equipped with two inflatable balloons. This tool is inserted into the thigh and guided to the small intestine. Your interventional radiologist will then inspect and examine, as well as treat your condition directly. This may include stopping the bleeding, removing a blockage or widening a narrowed section.

Endoscopic Therapies to Promote Healthier Drainage

There are many possible procedures to improve how the gastrointestinal tract and organs drain and function. These procedures can also alleviate pain. These procedures can be used to improve how pancreatic ducts drain, remove stones or open obstructions in the gallbladder or bile ducts (ducts that produce fluid for digestion), improve inflammation of the gallbladder and many other conditions.

A stent is a small, expandable device that can be implanted into the body to hold tissue in place, keep a vessel open or support a weakened area of the body. Stents may be temporary or permanent, depending on the condition.

An endoscope is inserted into a small incision and guided to the area of concern. Stents or other tools are used to widen ducts, remove obstructions and improve drainage.

Endoscopic Removal

Endoscopic procedures may be used to remove dead tissue, localized tumors, cancers or other unhealthy tissue. This is used to treat inflammation of the pancreas (organ that produces enzymes that assist with digestion and regulate how the body processes sugar), spastic tissue in the gastroinetstional tract that prevents swallowing or digestion, colon polyps (small clumps of cells or tissue), gastrointestinal cancer and other conditions.

Will I receive anesthesia or sedation for my procedure?

Interventional radiology procedures generally do not receive general anesthesia. Instead, your care team will generally numb the incision area (area to be cut) with a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort. Then, an intravenous (IV) line (soft, flexible tube inserted into a vein) will deliver sedation medication, which will make you more comfortable and relaxed during your procedure. Some patients fall asleep during the procedure. 

Your sedation level will depend on your specific procedure, age and medical condition:

●      Minimal sedation: You will be drowsy but able to talk. 

●      Moderate sedation: You may fall asleep and be unaware of your surroundings for some of the procedure. 

●      Deep (“twilight”) sedation: You will be asleep but will breathe on your own. You will have very little memory of the procedure.

Will I need to spend the night in the hospital afterward?

Most procedures require a minimum recovery of four hours in our care (this is called an outpatient procedure). For other interventional radiology procedures, you may need to stay one night in the hospital before being discharged. Your care team will inform you of your expected recovery time prior to your procedure. 

You will not be able to drive after your procedure for a certain amount of time. Be sure to arrange for someone to come with you to your procedure and take you home.

How long will the procedure take?

The length of time varies by procedure. Most interventional radiology treatments are minimally invasive procedures, which offer several benefits:  

●      Shorter procedures than traditional surgery 

●      Less exposure to anesthesia 

●      Smaller incisions 

●      Quicker recovery after the procedures

Who all is in the room during the procedure?

Most procedures require three healthcare professionals: 

●      Interventional radiologist (a physician)

●      Radiology nurse

●      X-ray technologist

●      Medical student (may be present on occasion to learn interventional radiology)

How should I prepare for my procedure?

Your care team will give you detailed instructions about how you can prepare for your procedure, as well as answer any of your questions. In general, our team suggests that you: 

●      Bring all medications in their labeled containers with you on the day of your procedure.

●      Bloodwork is required prior to most procedures.

●      Please ensure that you have not had anything to eat or drink after midnight the night before your procedure.

●      Shower or bathe the evening before or the morning of the procedure.

●      Please leave jewelry and other valuables at home; we are not responsible for items that you bring into the hospital.

●      Plan on being at the hospital for at least four hours.

●      Plan on resting for 12 hours after the procedure.

●      Do not drink alcohol 48 hours before or after your procedure.

●      You MUST have an adult present to drive you home.

●      Do not operate a vehicle or heavy machinery for the remainder of that day after the procedure.

●      Do not make any important decisions for the remainder of that day after the procedure.

Can I eat or drink on the day of the procedure?

You will receive instructions when scheduling the procedure, as well as one to two days before the procedure, about your medication, food restrictions and any other questions. Our standard protocol when anticipating sedation is to not eat or drink for eight hours before the procedure. You may have clear fluids (only water or apple juice) up to two hours before. If you eat anything within eight hours of your procedure, it may be cancelled.

What if I have an allergy to contrast dye?

If you have a contrast allergy, there are medications that can be prescribed for you to take prior to your procedure to help protect you against your allergy. These medications can help block your body’s response to an allergen.

Will my procedure be painful/uncomfortable?

Because interventional radiology procedures are minimally invasive, the pain is much less than with traditional surgery. However, it is possible to experience minimal pain at the incision site. Our care team will be sure to help you manage your pain so that you feel as comfortable as possible.

How can I schedule my procedure?

Our office has a team of schedulers that can assist you in scheduling your procedure. The schedulers can be reached at (646) 962-5757.

Is radiation safe?

While radiation does have safety concerns, your interventional radiologist is specially trained in the safe use of radiation and on how to minimize the risks associated. Interventional radiologists follow federal guidelines on the recommended safe doses to use during specific treatments.