TIPS is a medical procedure that helps correct a blood flow problem in the liver caused by portal hypertension, a condition common to certain liver diseases. TIPS stands for transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt. TIPS is not a surgery but a procedure performed by an interventional radiologist. Portal hypertension occurs when blood flow in the liver is slowed or stopped by scarring or other damage or increased pressure to the liver. PH may lead to bleeding and to the accumulation of fluid called ascites if in the abdomen or pleural fluid if in the chest. TIPS is employed if the conditions do not improve with medications. The patient is put to sleep under general anesthesia or heavy sedation. The radiologist performs the procedure from an intravenous tube in a vein (jugular) in the neck. The doctor then makes a tunnel in the liver to act as a shunt through which the blocked blood can flow. To keep the tunnel open, a small metal tube called a stent is inserted permanently. The benefit of your TIPS is that your symptoms can be relieved without surgery, and the recovery time is less than it would be after surgery.

Interventional radiology is a medical specialty that uses minimally invasive techniques to diagnose and treat a wide range of health problems, and it is an integral part of comprehensive patient care. The UAB Medicine interventional radiology team is a dedicated group of skilled, innovative health care professionals who are committed to providing the highest quality of care to our patients.

The group uses the latest and most advanced technology and imaging methods, including fluoroscopy, ultrasound, and CT scans, to treat tumors as well as peripheral arterial, venous, urologic, and hepatobiliary diseases. Each of our five dedicated angiography suites has the full range of imaging technology needed for complex procedures, along with the latest in patient monitoring and documentation systems. Because UAB Medicine is an academic health center, patients may be offered participation in clinical research trials, which can provide access to new techniques and treatments that are not available elsewhere in the area.

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