Interventional Radiology

Published On 07/11/2011

Methodist University Hospital is home to an array of comprehensive interventional radiology techniques. Interventional radiology is often used in combination with surgical intervention and traditional therapies as an additional treatment option. Depending on the type and stage of cancer involved, interventional radiology may be an appropriate part of the overall treatment plan. 


TheraSphere is an advanced new treatment option for liver cancer. The device is used to treat cancer that starts in the liver, which is known as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common form of primary liver cancer. TheraSphere consists of millions of tiny glass microspheres, about one-half the diameter of a human hair, that attack cancerous tumors in the liver while minimizing the impact on healthy tissue. This approach offers important benefits to patients. It allows for subsequent non-surgical therapy with other treatment options, with no required waiting period between treatments. In addition, the treatment may be used in patients where surgery, transplantation or tumor ablation is not a viable option.

Microwave Ablation

Our Cancer Center is the first program in Memphis to offer microwave ablation, the latest advancement in tumor ablation technology. Using image guidance, this approach allows the interventional radiologist to localize the tumor and then place a thin microwave antenna directly into the tumor. An electromagnetic wave is emitted through the exposed, non-insulated part of the antenna to heat up the local tissue and destroy the tumor. Microwave ablation is a treatment option that may be considered in the treatment of liver cancer, lung cancer, kidney cancer, and bone metastases.


Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) is an interventional radiology procedure that allows physicians to deliver targeted chemotherapy directly into a tumor. A small catheter is guided into the arterial system which provides blood supply to the tumor, and a mixture of chemotherapy and tiny beads is injected directly into the artery feeding the tumor. This not only allows for a very targeted delivery, but also increases the treatment’s effectiveness by staying in the tumor much longer than traditional methods. The embolization also serves to deprive the tumor of vital blood supply to further aid in eradicating the tumor.

Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation is another minimally invasive technique used by interventional radiologists to treat cancer in a very local or regional fashion. Often used when surgery is not appropriate or has failed previously, radiofrequency ablation involves the use of image-guided technology to place an electrode loading on a small needle to deliver heat energy into a tumor in order to destroy it. Radiofrequency ablation is most commonly used in the liver, kidneys, lungs, and bone.

To find an oncologist in Memphis, Tennessee, please use our physician locator or call 888.777.5959.