What You Should Know: Interventional vs. Surgical Procedures

If you’ve been diagnosed with narrowing arteries due to blockages, you may have been told you need coronary bypass surgery. However, an interventional procedure may be another option for you.

Interventional cardiologists use sophisticated, state-of-the-art X-ray and other imaging devices to guide tiny catheters and other small tools through the body to treat conditions through minimally invasive procedures. These tools enter the body through openings in the skin as small as the tip of a pencil. When contemplating treatment options, consider the following key advantages of interventional cardiac procedures:

  • Most procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis, or require only a short hospital stay.
  • Pain and recovery time are often significantly reduced.
  • Less risk of infection
  • Patient is often back to normal routine within days of procedure.
  • There is little or no incision.

In a traditional open surgical approach, a surgeon makes an incision to open up an area of the body, looks inside to determine the problem, fixes it and closes the incision with stitches or other means.

A surgeon may also use a minimally invasive approach which uses a puncture to introduce micro instruments through tiny access tubes (catheters), using image guidance to guide them to their targets and fix the problem from within the body.

In some cases, your doctor may recommend bypass surgery instead of cardiac stenting; however, at Albany Medical Center, our interventional cardiologists are performing more high-risk and complicated cases than anywhere in the Northeast. Whenever possible, they will seek to avoid open heart surgery. To get a second opinion from our one of our interventional cardiologists, call (518) 262-8595.