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The Portland hospital

Interventional Radiology

Interventional Radiology is an umbrella term for a range of techniques which rely on the use of radiological image guidance (X-ray fluoroscopy, ultrasound, computed tomography [CT] or magnetic resonance imaging [MRI]) to precisely target therapy. Many techniques involve passing a needle through the skin guided by imaging.

At the Portland Hospital the Interventional Radiology Team for Vascular Malformations, led by Dr Alex Barnacle, Consultant Paediatric Interventional Radiologist, diagnoses and treats a wide variety of conditions in children.  Most treatments are minimally invasive alternatives to open and keyhole surgery and Dr Barnacle uses Interventional Radiology to treat paediatric vascular anomalies such as port wine birthmarks, haemangiomas and other more complex vascular malformations.

Interventional Radiology is the leading treatment of these conditions and uses a combination of sclerotherapy, embolisation and occasionally more innovative techniques such as endovenous laser ablation.

The treatment of vascular malformations requires a multi-disciplinary team approach and Dr Barnacle and her team work closely with experts in dermatology, plastic surgery, ENT, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, urology and psychology. The team is also well supported by specialist physiotherapists and occupational therapists on site at The Portland Hospital.

Vascular malformations are not uncommon in children but are often poorly understood and part of the challenge is to offer a diagnosis early.  The benefit of having your child seen at The Portland Hospital is that all of the relevant specialists are available on site for a fast track referral so that children and families don’t have to go via several doctors and hospitals before they reach a specialist who is familiar with managing their condition.

This pioneering treatment is only currently available at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and privately at The Portland Hospital and both services are overseen by Dr Barnacle.

For further information on the Interventional Radiology for Vascular Malformations service please contact 0207 390 6157 or email

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