What if you were sick and your doctor gave you two treatment options: surgery or a minimally invasive procedure performed through a pinhole. Wouldn’t you want to know more?
Most people would. Unfortunately few patients who could benefit from minimally invasive, image-guided procedures (MIIPs) have ever heard of them. Because MIIPs are performed through a pinhole using medical imaging to see inside the body, they can safely and effectively treat many diseases so patients can return to their normal lives sooner. There are MIIPs to treat uterine fibroids, cancer, blood clots, blocked arteries, stroke, aneurysms and so much more. Specialized doctors perform life-saving MIIPs every day at hospitals and outpatient centers all across North America. So why have so few people ever heard of them?
MIIPs specialists like Interventional Radiologists have focused on finding innovative solutions for patients and developing new MIIPs, but they haven’t focused on telling the world about these incredible procedures. But someone needs to spread the word. The pace of innovation is so brisk that the public and even many primary care doctors are unaware of the gamut of available medical options. As a result, many patients who could benefit from MIIPs never have an opportunity to consider whether they would choose a MIIP or another treatment. For those who do hear about MIIPs and want to learn more, there are few resources that explain them clearly.
This is why we founded the Interventional Initiative, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with the mission to educate and engage the public about MIIPs. Research shows that patients who are empowered with the information to choose the best treatment for themselves actually do better. We believe that patients should have access to quality information about MIIPs that is easy to understand.
To that end, we are producing visual media about MIIPs that is educational, entertaining and engaging. Our major initiative is a documentary series titled Without a Scalpel, which follows the real stories of patients whose lives were transformed by a MIIP. We also produce a short vodcast series titled Behind the Scrubs, which highlights specific MIIPs like UFE, or “uterine fibroid embolization,” to treat fibroids. Finally, our website, www.theii.org, contains a wealth of information about different kinds of MIIPs – and we are continually growing it. In the future, our site will also serve as a hub for engaging people who have had a MIIP or are trying to decide whether to have one – patients will be able to share their stories and ask questions of the experts.
Knowledge is power. Please visit www.theii.org, to see how powerful a little knowledge can be.
Author: Isabel G. Newton, MD, PhD
Chair, the Interventional Initiative