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Interventional procedures cover a wide range of techniques that have evolved to treat diseases that were previously untreatable or to treat diseases in a way that is much less invasive (and often therefore less risky) than traditional approaches. This is a rapidly evolving area with new treatments being described all the time and Willows is at the forefront of this, offering a number of treatments that are not offered anywhere else in the UK.
The majority of the techniques use a combination of fluoroscopy (moving x-rays) and endoscopy (flexible or rigid steerable cameras) to access an area of the body and deliver a treatment.
These procedures are often treated with a multi-disciplinary approach involving clinicians from the internal medicine, cardiology, diagnostic imaging, and surgery teams.
Willows has a wide range of equipment and expertise allowing us to offer a number of these procedures. The cardiology team at Willows are the most experienced interventional cardiology team in the UK. In addition, Andrew Kent, one of our internal medicine Specialists, has completed significant additional training in interventional procedures, both in the USA and with human interventionalists in the UK. He has particular interests in endourology, respiratory and gastrointestinal procedures, and is the only clinician in the UK performing endoscopic biliary interventions. Chris Shales, one of our soft tissue surgery Specialists, has also undergone additional training in interventional radiology, as well as being a hugely experienced soft tissue surgeon. Our orthopaedic team have over 15 years’ experience in arthroscopic treatment of several different joint conditions.
Examples of some of the procedures we offer are listed below, however the range of procedures is evolving all the time, and so should you have any queries about whether an interventional procedure may be appropriate for your pet or client then please don’t hesitate to contact one of our Specialists for advice.
A number of heart conditions can be treated using an interventional approach, including closure of abnormal blood vessels (patent ductus arteriosus), stretching narrowed blood vessels (balloon dilatation of pulmonic stenosis) and treatment of abnormal heart rhythm (pacemaker implantation).
The airways are easily accessed with an endoscope for treatment of disease. We regularly use this approach to treat fungal infections of the nose (sinonasal aspergillosis) and to treat collapse of the windpipe (tracheal stenting for collapse), as well as a number of other therapies.
Interventional endoscopy of the urinary tract has allowed the development of minimally invasive therapies for conditions that previously required abdominal surgery. This includes treating blocked tubes (ureteral or urethral obstructions) with stents, correcting congenital abnormalities (for example ablating ectopic ureters) and removing polyps/cancers.
A significant proportion of the gastrointestinal tract can also be accessed with an endoscope allowing treatment of certain obstructions (oesophageal narrowing or stricture), removal of polyps and treatment of bile duct abnormalities (narrowing or gall stones).
Problems with blood vessels can sometimes be resolved using fluoroscopy guidance, including liver shunts and blocked blood vessels (due to clots or tumours). Sometimes the blood supply to diseased areas (for example tumours) can be deliberately blocked in order to treat that disease, this is called embolisation.
Key-hole surgery has been utilised at Willows for some time for neutering female dogs, biopsying organs and exploring body cavities for disease.
Arthroscopy (Key-hole surgery into a joint):
Our orthopaedic surgery team regularly use arthroscopy to examine the inside of joints and to perform certain treatments.