Scott Schultz, MD, FACR
Q: What changes do you see for the field of radiology in the next decade?
As an interventional radiologist, I have seen many amazing changes in our field. And I foresee ongoing dynamic changes in the next decade.
In particular, interventional radiology will have several key changes ahead. One of the changes is the explosion of interventional oncology procedures.
Targeted treatments with unique embolic materials, including packaged viral therapy, may lie ahead. Image-guided ablation therapies will evolve to enable us to reach lesions that currently elude our reach. The devices will become smaller, and the fusion of cross-sectional modalities with live fluoroscopy could result in a type of virtual reality procedure room, with the interventionalist guiding the therapy robotically. I predict nanotechnology will allow us to visualize anatomy from the inside of blood vessels, bile ducts, and all the other tubes in the body. It will be like mini-endoscopes guided by imaging modalities.
Endovascular therapies will also continue to evolve. Our practice now rarely treats even vascular emergencies with open vascular surgery; percutaneous therapies are faster and often more effective. Even vascular emergencies involving the aortic arch and great vessels will be treated with improved branched endografts. Bioabsorbable stents may dramatically increase patency compared to existing stents, including drug-coated stents. Meanwhile, percutaneous bypass surgery is already on the horizon. Endovascular treatment of stroke will continue to evolve; the technology is available and its success rates are improving exponentially every year.
Image-guided procedures and therapies will continue to be among the biggest advances in medicine. The future is very bright for our field.
Scott Schultz, MD, FACR, president of Minneapolis Radiology Associates, Minneapolis