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Interventional Radiology

Interventional Radiology
Sharouz Tahvilian, MD
Sharouz Tahvilian, MD is a vascular and interventional radiologist at Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley, CA. He is a member of the American Board of Radiology and the Society of Interventional Radiology. Dr. Tahvilian came to PIONEERS from Albany Medical Center in New York, where he completed a fellowship in vascular and interventional radiology. He is a 2010 graduate of New York Medical College and obtained his undergraduate degree at the University of California, San Diego.

Deborah Howell (Host): If your doctor told you he’d like you to go see an interventional radiologist, would you have any idea what he was talking about? The word radiology holds a different meaning for each of us, but the field of radiology is rapidly evolving and is now offering something called interventional radiology. I’m Deborah Howell, and in this episode of Pioneers Memorial Health Talk we’ll shed some light on interventional radiology and learn more about some of the advanced imaging and groundbreaking treatment techniques that are now being offered to patients. Dr. Sharouz Tahvilian is a vascular and interventional radiologist at Pioneers Memorial Hospital and is also the Chief of Staff. He’s here today to tell us about some of the more common diseases he treats in the Imperial Valley and also to fill us in on some new treatment techniques. A true pleasure to have you on the show today doctor.

Dr. Sharouz Tahvilian (Guest): Thank you very much.

Host: So what is interventional radiology?

Dr. Tahvilian: So an interventional radiologist is a specialist in the field of radiology and we specialize in minimally invasive techniques that are designed to treat a whole host of different types of diseases and we do that by using a combination of imaging, whether its ultrasound, x-rays, CAT scans to essentially get anywhere inside of the body if we need to. For instance, if we need to perform a biopsy, we can do image guided biopsy. If we need to treat cancer, we can get inside of the body using a small pinhole that we make whether it’s in an artery or vein and use catheters and wires to essentially watch ourselves to go up into an organ or a place in the body where a disease is that we need to treat.

Host: Thus the word interventional. What is traditional radiology by comparison?

Dr. Tahvilian: So traditional radiologists are the physicians who are trained in looking at x-rays and CTs and MRIs and working with various doctors, whether it’s hospitals or internal medicine doctors or those who specialize in for example the heart or the lung to come up with diagnoses based on the imaging findings.

Host: Got it, alright what common types of diseases does an interventional radiologist treat?

Dr. Tahvilian: We actually treat all kinds of diseases. The advantage of being an interventional radiologist is that we have a very wide toolset that we can use to treat anything from a cyst or an infection to cancers practically anywhere in the body, suspicious uterine fibroids, vascular diseases such as people who have diabetes and have poor vascular flow in their legs, dialysis patients, patients who have gastrointestinal problems. If you can name it, we can probably treat it.

Host: That is good news, and who do interventional radiologists work with?

Dr. Tahvilian: We work with practically everybody in the medical field from nurse practioners to physician’s assistants to physicians themselves, and we’re not necessarily pigeon holed into one or two specialties. We work with all of the specialties, for example cardiologists, like I said hospitalists, surgeons, family medicine doctors, obstetricians, gynecologist, oncologists if we’re working with cancer patients and it’s just a team based approach where we’re asked to assist the physician or healthcare provider in either coming up with a diagnosis or treatment option for their patient.

Host: It really is just so much better for the patient and the patient’s family when you work as a team, isn’t it?

Dr. Tahvilian: Absolutely it is, we’re very happy to be part of a team.

Host: And who is a good candidate to see an interventional radiologist?

Dr. Tahvilian: Again, it’s anybody who has any sort of issue, whether it’s medical or even an initial diagnosis workup where they need some sort of answers to some sort of medical question that’s out there so we do see practically everyone.

Host: Okay, tell me a little bit about the exciting stuff, the Pioneers new 3 Tesla MRI.

Dr. Tahvilian: So this is a unique imaging modality that we’re bring to the valley. The benefit of a 3T or 3 Tesla MRI is that it’s twice as powerful than anything else that the valley has had. We’ve always traditionally used a 1.5 Tesla magnet and with advances in technology and everything that’s going on in the technological field, we thought it would be great to provide something that’s much more powerful and efficient for the patient population here. A 3T will enable us to scan patients faster. It will enable us to see potential disease states in the body with greater detail, therefore allowing us to come up with better diagnoses, and we’re very proud of this machine because we’ve set it up so that if anyone is claustrophobic, we do have a video entertainment system that we can put on your head so you can actually watch a movie while you’re getting an MRI.

Host: I love it, and Fortnight?

Dr. Tahvilian: And it’s supposed to be very quiet. Absolutely [laughter] yeah, anything that you’re interested in and it’s very unique, absolutely.

Host: And with this increased ability to see what’s going on in the body, how does that help you then treat it?

Dr. Tahvilian: Well the goal is if we can come up with a diagnosis faster, then we can come up with treatment opportunities and treatment options faster as well. Also there may be instances where we’re not exactly sure what the diagnosis is, we’re hoping with this new magnet, we can come up with a firmer diagnosis and allow the patient to make an educated decision as to what treatment options they want to move forward with.

Host: How is different for you as a radiologist today as it was, say 20 years ago?

Dr. Tahvilian: That’s a great question. So I’ve only actually trained in the last 10 years and I only hear about the things that happen about 20 years ago, but we have become much more of an integral part of the medical team, meaning that with technology as it is today and information being transmitted so quickly and efficiently, we’re able to answer any physician’s questions almost instantaneously. Imaging has improved significantly where we’re able to come up with better diagnoses rather than giving a whole host of options or possibilities that a disease could be. We’re able to transmit this information immediately from our workstations to the doctors that are requesting these images and we’re able to answer any patient questions as well.

Host: You’re really all about the research right and then you hand it off to the physicians for treatment or do you do any forms of treatment?

Dr. Tahvilian: In radiology, we do carry out certain treatments mostly in the field of nuclear medicine as well as we do play an integral part of breast cancer workup and that starts with mammography. We do have a new 3D system that we’ve been using to help diagnose breast cancer and we work hand in hand with the surgeons in order to isolate where the cancer is in the breast so that if the patient has to undergo some sort of surgery in order to remove that cancer or that lesion, they come to us first and we help identify what needs to be taken out.

Host: Absolutely, and if you could backup for our audience just a bit and define nuclear medicine for us.

Dr. Tahvilian: So nuclear medicine has been around for many, many years. It’s one of the most integral parts of radiology. It uses radio isotopes, which are essentially molecules that are tagged to any sort of radiation admitting particle and usually the patient is injected with this particle and it’s designed to go to certain areas where they may be some sort of diseased state and it can help us identify where those disease states are. If the disease is in the bone, like I said disease in the breast. We also use nuclear medicine for cardiology workup as well as to try to find cancers anywhere in the body and the biggest example I can give for that is a PET scan where you’re injected with something called ITG and that molecule goes to where ever the cancer is and lights it up for us to find it.

Host: Absolutely incredible. I mean the research that has gone into nuclear medicine and beyond is really – it’s mind boggling really.

Dr. Tahvilian: It is very helpful, absolutely.

Host: Now Pioneers Memorial offers such a wide variety of advanced imaging and treatment techniques to its patients in the Imperial Valley. It’s really a new day for patients isn’t it?

Dr. Tahvilian: It is. Our goal as the radiologists for Pioneers is to provide all facets of radiology to our community and the valley and to enable them to basically get any service that’s available anywhere else here locally rather than having to travel to, for example, San Diego, or to the Coachella Valley to get their radiology done.

Host: And therefore, nothing really to be feared. Just information is good. Information is what’s going to get that patient the best possible treatment, correct?

Dr. Tahvilian: Absolutely.

Host: Dr. Tahvilian, thank you so much for your insight and for being on the program today. We really appreciate it.

Dr. Tahvilian: Thank you so much for having me.

Host: For more information, please visit Our guest today has been Dr. Sharouz Tahvilian and this is Pioneers Memorial Health Talk. I’m Deborah Howell. Thanks so much for listening and have yourself a terrific day.