Minimally Invasive for Maximum Results
By Sarah Brown
What do migraines, plantar fasciitis, back pain, sciatica, and varicose veins all have in common? Yes, they are all conditions that can be chronic, can disrupt daily activities, and can diminish quality of life. In addition, they (as well as many others) are conditions that can be treated with interventional radiology. At Advanced Radiology, the team of board-certified interventional radiologists is nationally recognized for being at the forefront of medical technology and practice in their field. Most importantly, their work each day creates positive impacts in their patient’s lives.
Radiology is a branch of medicine that uses medical imaging (ultrasound, CT, MRI, fluoroscopy) to treat disease or injury. Interventional radiology, then, uses radiology for interventions—that is, it uses imaging to guide minimally invasive procedures. In addition to the conditions already listed, Advanced Radiology routinely performs procedures to treat tennis elbow, Achilles tendinosis, jumper’s knee, spinal compression fractures, uterine fibroids, male infertility, peripheral artery disease, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Advanced Radiology includes five fellowship-trained interventional radiologists: Dr. Michael Budler, Dr. Kyle Pfeifer, Dr. John Allen, Dr. Jeff Himmelberg, and Dr. Sean Pietrini. Their scope of practice covers a large portion of Nebraska. They treat patients at Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, at Children’s Hospital and Methodist Hospital in Omaha, as well as within Crete, York, Grand Island, Kearney, and Fremont. “We’re a 100-percent interventional radiology group,” says Dr. Budler, “which is relatively rare in the United States. Most interventional radiologists are lumped together with diagnostic radiologists. Being more independent allows us to be very cutting-edge in our specialty.”
Advanced Radiology is dedicated to minimally invasive procedures. “When it comes to surgical procedures, our goal is always to be able do the least amount necessary to produce the desired outcome,” Dr. Budler explains. “This results in better healing and less downtime.” Because of these results, Advanced Radiology patients also typically have reduced ongoing needs for opioid pain medications.
Most procedures at Advanced Radiology are performed on an outpatient basis, with just a local anesthetic (additional conscious sedation in sometimes used). Their procedures take relatively little time to complete. For example, the SphenoCath procedure for treatment of chronic migraine headaches generally takes 15 minutes from start to finish. “It’s safe for everyone from teenagers to pregnant women, and many patients who undergo it report going an entire year without experiencing another migraine,” shares Dr. Budler.
Osteoporosis can sometimes cause back pain. As we age, our bones naturally thin, which increases the risk for spinal compression fractures. When this happens, the most common symptom is severe back pain that is made worse with movement. Dr. Budler points out that patients may be able to get relief without having to undergo major spinal surgery. “Minimally invasive treatments that Advanced Radiology offers, such as kyphoplasty and SpineJack vertebral augmentation, can stabilize the fracture, restore body height, and decrease pain.” Both procedures are performed in less than an hour, and patients typically go home the same day. Patients who undergo this procedure also tend to experience reduced need for ongoing opioid medications.
Varicose veins can be troublesome, both cosmetically and medically. The veins in your legs have to work against gravity to return blood to the heart. Tiny valves in the veins open as blood flows toward the heart, and then they close to stop blood from flowing backward. If the valves in your legs are weak or damaged, blood can flow the wrong way, pooling in a vein and causing it to stretch and twist. In addition to being unsightly, varicose veins can lead to problems from aching and itching to ulcers and blood clots.
Advanced Radiology has been treating varicose veins for almost two decades using laser ablation. To perform laser ablation, Dr. Budler first makes a tiny incision in the skin near the affected area. He then inserts a small tube called a catheter into the vein. Once the catheter is inside, a device with a laser at the tip of the tube heats up the inside of the vein and closes it off. “It usually only takes about 30 minutes to treat one leg,” he states. Advanced Radiology was the first team in Nebraska to introduce the laser ablation treatment for varicose veins. “The laser system we use is the best,” says Dr. Budler, “and this treatment is not only proven but also very safe. You won’t find a more experienced team doing it.”
Advanced Radiology at 1600 South 48th Street in Lincoln offers appointments in person or via telehealth. Call 888-828-5424 for the locations of additional clinics in Nebraska or to schedule a consultation. Information is also available online at advancedradiologygi.com.
Dr. Michael Budler