Advanced Vascular & Interventional Radiology Institute Chooses New Director of Institute

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Dr. Kevin Baskin, M.D., an internationally-renowned interventional radiologist, is the New Director of the Advanced Vascular & Interventional Radiology Institute

The Advanced Vein Center - - has long been recognized as one of the area’s premier facilities for the treatment of venous diseases. However, since becoming the Advanced Vascular and Interventional Radiology Institute, we’ve greatly augmented our practice to include a remarkable range of minimally-invasive surgical procedures. We’ve always been proud of our sterling reputation, and we strive every day, not only to maintain our high standards, but to consistently find ways to exceed them.

Because of the speed of medical and technological advancements, which are being made every day, this is an on-going challenge. Nevertheless, it’s an exhilarating one, which we’ve continually met with ardor, staying ahead of the curve by perpetually growing, learning, building upon our skills, and expanding our services.

To accomplish this, we align ourselves with the top talent in the field, whose knowledge, abilities, goals, and principles mirror our own. Of course, at times, searching for such ideal matches can be exhaustive; but it definitely pays off when we find a real gem.    

That’s exactly what happened when Dr. Kevin Baskin, MD, became the founding Director of the Institute. An internationally-renowned interventional radiologist, he is regarded as one of medicine’s elite. Furthermore, he fairly resides on the cutting edge of medical breakthroughs, and is even responsible for some of them.

Naturally, to fully understand his specialty, it’s important to know what an interventional radiologist (IR) does.

“Basically, we do image-guided microsurgery,” explains Dr. Baskin, “using all types of imaging technology, including ultrasound, X-Rays, CT scanning, fluoroscopy, and, in short, all forms of real-time and cross-sectional imaging. These allow us to see places that would normally require open surgery to access. Thus, we can provide treatment through small incisions, using devices to obtain tissue for biopsies, drain abscesses or abnormal fluid collections, treat vascular diseases and malformations, and care for a variety of other ailments.”

Undoubtedly, his expertise is impressive; but, beyond that, we knew from the start that his attitude would perfectly complement ours. Dr. Baskin is never satisfied with the status quo, a mind-set that’s essential to the constant growth and improvement to which we aspire.

Without question, his unwillingness to be bound by preconceived notions has benefitted patients around the globe. Among his many achievements, he is one of the leaders in developing new procedures for treating patients who were considered to be poor surgical candidates by physicians of other specialties. Therefore, we were delighted when he joined our staff.

“I have been working in the rather rarefied air of academic institutions for many years. But, I really wanted to be able to provide these minimally-invasive procedures in more accessible outpatient settings, where a more direct connection to my patients assures that I can deliver the level and quality of care that I believe in, without so many layers of administration and management diluting the effectiveness of my care,” says Dr. Baskin, “and the Advanced Vascular and Interventional Institute has a number of locations in the Pittsburgh area that are designed to deliver that kind of care. So, it was a good fit in that it gave me access to a network of outpatient facilities committed to the principles I hold dear. At the same time, we also have the ability to perform more complex procedures in a surgical center or hospital setting, when necessary to maintain patient comfort and safety. In any case, I was glad to be able to bring a broader selection of procedures, as well as a lot of expertise in minimally-invasive diagnoses and treatments, to an environment already committed to the highest standards of care.”

Indeed, his presence added immensely to our capabilities; and, suddenly, general practitioners in the Pittsburgh area had wonderful, new options when they were looking for the optimum facilities to which they could refer their patients.    

“The treatment of venous diseases is only one small aspect of what interventional radiologists do,” says Dr. Baskin. “We’re a specialty that offers minimally-invasive procedures for a full scope of diseases that couldn’t be tended to here previously. A huge door has opened, because we can also treat bone and joint diseases, perform GI procedures, diagnose cancer, and so much more. We’re not limited to certain body regions or systems, either. We can treat the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, GI tract, bones, muscles, soft tissues, and, basically, every part of the body.”

A genuine visionary who is always seeking better methods of doing things, Dr. Baskin has developed new procedures that increase the chances of success in liver transplants.

“Sometimes, during surgery, the connections don’t work well, or at all,” he says, “and when this happens, the patient can lose the transplant, or even die. So I created new techniques for re-opening, or re-connecting, those faulty grafts.”

Dr. Baskin is also part of a team that is devising ways of performing liver transplants through catheters, rather than by way of large surgical incisions. In fact, he has developed, or refined, a number of medical procedures. In addition, he advises worldwide industry leaders and manufacturers of medical equipment on ways of making their devices safer and more effective; and he holds a couple of patents on his own medical inventions.

Another cause to which he devotes his efforts is dose reduction in devices that use X-Rays. Toward that end, he has been a pioneer in the more intensive use of ultrasound for procedural guidance, as it allows real-time imaging, without any ionizing radiation.

Dr. Baskin has worked at some of the foremost hospitals in the world, including Duke, the University of Iowa, the University of Toronto, Harvard, Boston University, and, more recently, UPMC and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, where he was Division Chief of Pediatric Interventional Radiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

While a true avant-garde, Dr. Baskin, nonetheless, staunchly upholds and adheres to the traditional standards and ethics of his profession. In fact, he is an active senior member of the Standards Committee for the Society of Interventional Radiologists (SIR), working with the best in the field to set the standards for the performance and safety of these minimally-invasive procedures.

Highly-respected by colleagues and industry leaders, and much sought-after for his expertise, he has written, and co-authored, standards for an array of procedures, as well as guidelines for practice development and patient management. Dr. Baskin has written books, chapters, and dozens of papers in the medical literature, and made scores of presentations at national and international conferences and meetings at which he has been invited to speak. He has also advised the U. S. government and major international medical manufacturers on medical innovations, information technology, device regulation, and patient safety.

Certainly, his field has been making great strides at a dizzying pace. Consequently, there are those who still believe that minimally-invasive techniques are limited to a handful of procedures, or are less effective than traditional operations. However, Dr. Baskin is quick to point out that they’re usually more effective, at lower costs, with fewer risks of complications. Because of these advantages, he adds that they’re becoming more prevalent every day.    

“Actually, there’s a definite trend among physicians to refer their patients to doctors in my field first, if we can accomplish the objective,” says Dr. Baskin. “These days, in general, they usually fall back on open surgery only when interventional techniques cannot be used, or when an interventional radiologist is not available. Medicine is a pretty conservative profession, in which change occurs quite slowly; but considerable and exciting change has certainly happened over the past few decades.”

A native of California, Dr. Baskin earned his medical degree at the Creighton University School of Medicine. Of course, we’re very happy that he’s now a part of our team!

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A. Eisler
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