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Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Health Center in Lewiston and Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center both announced Monday that they will introduce round-the-clock interventional radiology, or Minimally Invasive Surgery, services.

Both hospitals claimed to be the first and only providers of the service in Niagara County. Memorial's written announcement came about two hours after a news conference at Mount St. Mary's.

State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-North Tonawanda, and Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte, D-Lewiston, joined Angelo G. Calbone, hospital president, in the announcement at Mount St. Mary's, whose center will open in the spring with about $1 million in funding from the state.

Dr. Frederick Poynton, a board-certified, fellowship-trained interventional radiologist will head Mount St. Mary's team. Poynton has been practicing interventional radiology at St. Mary's since 1997.

Memorial's new service will be headed by Dr. Joseph M. Marra, also a board-certified, fellowship-trained radiologist. Marra is a Niagara Falls native and graduated from Niagara Catholic High School.

According to the Society of Interventional Radiology, interventional radiologists use sophisticated X-ray and other imaging devices to guide tiny catheters and other small tools through the body to treat disease without surgery. Such tools enter the body through openings as small as a pencil tip in the skin.

An interventional radiologist is able to see inside the body of a patient without making a surgical incision. Stitches usually are not needed, and the procedures rarely require the use of general anesthesia.

The surgeries are generally easier for the patient because they involve no large incisions and carry less risk, less pain and shorter recovery times.

Many procedures can be performed without an overnight hospital stay. Typically the less invasive procedures cost less than traditional surgeries.


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