Interventional radiology TED talk raises awareness of image-guided, minimally invasive medicine

Oleksandra Kutsenko delivering her TED talk

Oleksandra Kutsenko, a radiology resident at Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, USA, and Society of Interventional Radiology-Resident Fellow Student (SIR-RFS) advocacy chair, has given a TED talk expressing the possibilities of minimally invasive, image-guided medicine.

Focusing on the “science-fiction” like capabilities of interventional radiology (IR), Kutsenko began her talk by describing three case studies where patients were not treated with IR procedures, but could have potentially received better treatment if they had been. In the first example, she detailed how a woman who had a hysterectomy could have been saved an invasive surgery, a long recovery time, and her fertility if she had been treated with a uterine fibroid embolization. In the next example, she detailed how a young veteran treated for back pain with opioids could have been spared his resultant painkiller addiction through original treatment with nerve ablation and vertebroplasty. Lastly, she spoke of a liver cancer patient who could undergo “potentially curative” microwave ablation or chemoembolization in order to avoid either liver transplant and a lifelong immunosuppression, or a long course of chemotherapy with its attendant side effects: infection, bleeding, hair loss, fatigue, and stomach pains.

Reaching an audience of millions, TED talks are an effective means of communicating with large swathes of the general public. This accords with one of SIR’s key mission statements, to reach “around the world and out to partners across corporate, public, and private sectors to ensure the story of interventional radiology is spread through a range of communication channels”. In addition to public outreach, SIR advocates on behalf of its members and interventional radiology as a whole before Congress, insurance carriers and other key decision-makers.

Improving the public awareness of interventional radiology procedures was central to Kutsenko’s talk. “It seems that interventional radiology has been the best kept secret of medicine”, she told the audience. “So let us change this”.

Speaking to Interventional News, Kutsenko comments, “Interventional Radiology covers a broad spectrum of minimally-invasive procedures that diagnose and treat almost every organ in the body; we work with physicians in nearly every specialty of medicine and provide some of the best healthcare value and outcomes, and yet our specialty is strikingly unknown among other physicians, legislative bodies, and most importantly patients.

“To change this, we need to reach out to large masses of people in the general population and spread the word about the treatment options we have to offer. TED is one of the greatest media platforms that is doing exactly that. Extremely popular TED educational videos can increase awareness about IR far beyond single hospitals, cities, or even countries. As a result, the information on value of minimally invasive image-guided procedures can be delivered to large populations, and through them further influence hospital and national policies. The voice of our patients will be heard, and we all should make sure that their health decisions are based on understanding new technically-advanced, IR-inclusive, better medicine.”

After sharing her TED talk on Twitter, Kutsenko was quickly the recipient of much praise from other interventional radiologists on the platform. Replying on the site, aspiring interventional radiologist Alex Sher (Mount Sinai, New York, USA) wrote: “Great talk and thanks for spreading the word about interventional radiology!”


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