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Aug 3, 2017

Healthy Living Tries Interventional Radiology

It’s a minimally invasive technique that is becoming increasingly popular in healthcare. And for the past two years it has been offered at the country’s main public hospital. It’s called interventional radiology and it allows for patients to have an alternative to open surgeries. We find out more about it in tonight’s Healthy Living.



Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

When you are sent to the radiology department at the hospital, the assumption is that you’re expecting to get a more detailed or confirmed diagnosis of your condition or ailment. This form of radiology is diagnostic; but, the imaging department at the K.H.M.H. also offers a more modern treatment called interventional radiology.


Barnabe Carillo

Dr. Barnabe Carillo, Head Radiologist, K.H.M.H.

“Diagnostic radiology it involves suing many diagnostic imaging modalities to diagnose disease whether it be X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds. Now, interventional radiology we don’t just diagnose but we also treat using imaging.”


Doctor Barnabe Carillo is the head of the Radiology Unit, he started his career at the K.H.M.H. in 2006. He left a few years later to specialize in radiology and then left once again to further study the sub-specialty of interventional radiology. For the past two years, he has been able to provide this treatment to Belizeans.


Dr. Barnabe Carillo

“What we use is radiology imaging, so like in this case we use ultrasound along with x-ray but x-ray with video what we call fluoroscopy. Fluoroscopy is like x-ray but it is actually a video.  Here at the K.H.M.H., we have the ultrasound the CT, I use CT to do procedures as well and we have the fluoroscopy. So we have all of that. The only thing we need is the material: the wires, the catheter, which we get here to perform those types of minimally invasive surgeries. For example in bleeding: gastrointestinal bleeding. A patient came he had bleeding. The gastroenterologist went in to detect where it was bleeding from but sometimes there is so much blood that they can’t see where the bleeding site is from. So using interventional radiology, we access the arterial system and I use ultrasound for that and access an artery in the groin area. We go into the major vessels that supply the bowel and we inject dye and we can actually see where the blood is coming from and after that we use particles, certain particles, to inject and we stop the bleeding.”


Marleni Cuellar

“The advantages that this has is less pain for the patient; there’s no cost to that right?”


Dr. Barnabe Carillo

“Less pain, recovery time is fast. Many of the procedures that I do is outpatient and some only stay for an overnight. So, it saves in terms of hospital stays. The other advantage is that for many of them we don’t use general anesthesia, we just use local anesthesia. So that cuts costs? Yes and recovery time a patient can go back to work in less time than with open surgery.”


Carillo works closely with other specialists at the K.H.M.H. and they jointly decide if interventional radiology can be an option for treatment.


Dr. Barnabe Carillo

“In some cases it will be open surgery and in some cases it will be doing interventional surgery. What’s been the predominant condition that you have been working with so far? What of the things that I do here the most is not to treat; but, very open as well is doing biopsy. We take samples from any part of the body without surgery. I use for example if you have a tumor in the lung something as small as an 8 mm tumor and he has history of heavy smoking we want to know whether it is cancer or not. I can use CT to guide a needle into the nodule and take samples of it. Or if someone has a mass in the belly that we don’t know where it is coming from or maybe that patient has a history of cancer and we want to know whether the cancer has come back. We can also do it using ultrasound or CT. that is the most common thing that I have been doing.”


Carillo encourages patients to do their homework; and once an open surgery is suggested; they can investigate further as to whether interventional radiology may be an option for their treatment especially since it is available right at the K.H.M.H.


Dr. Barnabe Carillo

“I have always wanted to come back to Belize and I know there is a need for it. I know there is a need for It. Right now we’re just starting but eventually I think in medicine everything will be this way. This is the way to go. And although we only have about four hundred thousand people I think there is enough patients that we can work with especially here at K.H.M.H. that we get patients from all over the place all over the country.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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