Interventional Radiology Advanced Techniques and Technologies

UCSF’s interventional radiology uses the most advanced techniques and uses state-of-the-art imaging equipment with reduced x-ray doses to help patients. Pioneering work in the treatment of liver disease and all procedures performed in sophisticated imaging suites are just some of the hallmarks of UCSF interventional radiology.

A liver transplant surgery procedure replaces a patient's diseased liver with a whole or partial healthy liver from another person. UCSF’s liver transplant program is one of the nation's largest, has a one-year survival rate of 92 percent (compared with the national average of 87 percent), and achieves excellent results even with high-risk patients. UCSF’s transplant team is cross-functional and interventional radiologists are active contributors to the liver transplant surgery team using various procedures to contribute.

Portal vein embolization (PVE) is an example of what the interventional radiologist may perform. This procedure induces regrowth on one side of the liver in advance of a planned the surgical removal of a portion of the liver (hepatic resection) of the other side. An interventional radiologist places a needle through the skin into the liver and identifies the blood vessel on the side where the largest part of the tumor is being supplied. 

Tiny microspheres are then infused into the portal vein that is supplying blood flow to the area in order to cut off (or embolize) the blood flow. 

This blockage prompts the other side of the liver to re-grow, in effect tricking the body into regenerating. This has the effect of enlarging the remaining liver sections on which the patient will depend after liver transplant surgery procedure.


Portal Venogram – UCSF Medical

UCSF is a world leader in Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunts (TIPS). This procedure was refined at UCSF and is used to manage patients with complications of cirrhosis or other liver diseases. A Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt (TIPS) procedure is essentially a liver shunt procedure, whereby an interventional radiologist places a tubular device in the liver. The liver shunt connects the hepatic vein with the portal vein in order to relieve abnormally high blood pressure that has built up in the liver and to address risks associated with rupture and bleeding of dilated blood vessels (called varices) in the esophagus or stomach. High pressure and bleeding can be life-threatening complications of liver disease.

Blood Clot Removal – UCSF Medical

State-of-the-art imaging suites

Our state-of-the-art imaging suites all feature C-arm CT and radiation reduction software. In addition, we utilize one of the few suites in the world capable of combining angiographic and MRI imaging, which allows us to perform procedures with a very high degree of precision.

We are dedicated to upholding the highest possible standards of safety, and we invite you to read more about our department’s commitment to patient safety.

Interventional Radiology Research

The interventional radiology subspecialty of the UCSF Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging is focused on developing new diagnostic techniques and cutting edge interventions and therapies for diseases throughout the body.  Research into applications of interventional radiology techniques has had an enormous positive impact on patients’ health, convenience, and comfort, as well as cost.

Angiogram – UCSF Medical

Our current research involves:

  • Liver cancer patients: improving treatment options for patients with liver cancer to make transplantation a viable alternative. We are working with Francis Yao, MD, medical director of the Liver Transplant Program at UCSF Medical Center, to convert patients who would not be considered candidates for liver transplantation into patients who may be eligible for this procedure.
  • Improving survival in patients with metastatic disease to the liver: using hepatic arterial therapies including both chemoembolization and radioembolization.
  • Implantation of pancreatic islet cells: as a joint project with UCSF Transplant Services.
  • Improving respiratory function: with the use of expandable stenting in the airways.
  • Gallbladder surgery patients: treatment options for patients with complications from gallbladder surgery.