Dr. Curtis Brasseur practices on the new frontier of medicine. A highly-skilled interventional radiologist, Dr. Brasseur is among an elite group of doctors who treat a variety of medical disorders without surgery. Using imaging technology such as an MRI or CT scanner to guide the way, Dr. Brasseur slips narrow catheters and other tiny instruments through blood vessels to the site of a tumor, blockage, infection or hemorrhage - and solves the problem.
"For me, this is the most gratifying area of radiology," said Dr. Brasseur, who came to Berkshire Medical Center in 2003. "It's less invasive than surgery, has fewer complications and very little discomfort. In fact, most of my patients walk in and out the same day."
Actually, many of Dr. Brasseur's procedures take only minutes and represent a paradigm shift in patient care. For example, until just recently, Angiograms literally took all day and required that patients stop eating the night before. They came in early the next morning, a catheter was threaded through major arteries, and contrast was injected to detect blockages in the patient's vascular system. After the procedure was finished, patients stayed another six hours before being discharged.
"Now they come in, I insert an IV and we're done in two minutes," Dr. Brasseur said. "This is a good example of how medicine is evolving. It's a faster and less invasive way to diagnose and treat disease. It's exciting to be on the forefront of this new aspect of medicine."
Dr. Brasseur provides a full range of interventional procedures, including vascular stents, chest ports, dialysis catheter insertions, IVC placements, embolization, dissolving blood clots and draining abscesses deep within the body - all without surgery. Patients either seek his care directly, or are referred through their primary care physicians.
Dr. Brasseur and other interventional radiologists will conduct the diagnostic test to confirm a blocked artery, for example, and then insert the balloon catheter and stent to repair the blockage. Or, he can find the source of severe bleeding and stop it - without stepping into an operating room for either procedure. They are hands-on with patient care, with the ability to admit patients, diagnose disease and provide treatment.
Surgical procedures which previously required hours of time with patients under general anesthesia now take minutes. For example, women with non-cancerous fibroid tumors in the uterus traditionally underwent hysterectomies, which removed the uterus. With interventional radiology, Dr. Brasseur is able to block the supply of blood that is feeding the tumor, which shrinks and eventually dissolves. And for older men and women with compression fractures of the vertebra - a very painful condition often caused by osteoporosis - Dr. Brasseur provides immediate relief and a return to normal life by injecting orthopaedic cement through a tiny needle to stabilize the fractured bone.
"Most of these patients get off the table pain free," Dr. Brasseur said, "and this is what's so gratifying about my field. Interventional Radiology can make a huge difference in patient care."
To contact Dr. Curtis Brasseur, please call 413-447-3233