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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Radiology group to build new offices for its interventional and vascular work

Dr. Donald Doherty, left, and Ed Swager of Radiologic Associates of Fredericksburg.

Radiologic Associates of Fredericksburg, the region’s primary radiology group, is building a new center for its interventional and vascular work.

Virginia Interventional and Vascular Associates, one of RAF’s divisions, will begin work soon on a new headquarters in the Lee’s Hill area of Spotsylvania County. It is expected to be ready in January.

“The trend in interventional radiology is taking what we do in the hospital and getting it out into the outpatient environment,” said Dr. Donald Doherty, one of the physician leaders of the group.

The new $1.2 million office will be located in what is now the vacant second floor of the Professional Plaza at Lee’s Hill, a medical office building off U.S. 1 near Interstate 95. Also housed in that building is one of RAF’s partnerships, Medical Imaging of Lee’s Hill, and a freestanding emergency department operated by Mary Washington Healthcare.

The office will consist of reception, exam and procedure space totaling 9,200 square feet, said Ed Swager, chief executive officer. The group’s current office, located next to Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, has 4,000 square feet of space.

VIVA is a 5-year-old practice whose physicians do minimally invasive procedures, guided by radiologic images.

Doherty used the example of a patient whose chest X-ray reveals a suspicious spot on the lung. A primary care physician might refer the patient to one of the VIVA physicians for a biopsy. If the biopsy reveals that the tumor is cancerous, an oncologist might ask the patient to return to one of the VIVA doctors for placement, maintenance and eventual removal of a chemotherapy port.

VIVA physicians receive referrals from almost all types of doctors, Doherty said. Frequently they treat patients who are undergoing dialysis and those who have varicose veins, abdominal aortic aneurysms and uterine fibroids. They also help treat emergency patients for Mary Washington’s trauma service.

The expansion is driven by the population growth in the region and by the new types of procedures that the group is doing, Swager said. Group members did 4,000 procedures in 2007, their first year, Swager said. This year they expect to do 12,000 procedures.