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Minimizing Pain, Maximizing Recovery

After a car accident, a 2-year old’s head and neck were immobilized by a halo bolted to his skull, and metal plates were attached to his cervical spine with screws. He developed clots in the deep veins of his pelvis and needed protection to prevent the clots from breaking loose and traveling to his lungs.

Protecting the seriously injured 2-year-old boy from life-threatening blood clots presented physicians with a dilemma. Clot-breaking medicines, a common option, were considered risky. The boy’s extensive head and neck injuries raised the concern that massive bleeding could result from the use of the blood-thinning drugs.

Interventional radiologists at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC had another idea.

Using image-guided, minimally invasive surgical techniques, they implanted an umbrella-like filter in a central vein to trap any clots that might form and prevent them from traveling to the lungs, knowing that later the filter would be taken out.

These interventional radiologists are performing minimally invasive procedures with needles and catheters rather than scalpels, using the real-time images provided by CT, MRI, x-ray, PET, ultrasound, and other technologies as road maps. For a growing number of pediatric patients, this is an option to open surgery that requires no large incisions, poses fewer risks, exposes children to less pain, and allows them to recover more quickly.

Last Update
April 12, 2010
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Last Update
April 12, 2010
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