Dr. Christopher J. Parr brings to Tanner Clinic skills in the relatively new field of interventional radiology, which utilizes imaging to conduct non-invasive surgical procedures.
The fellowship-trained physician is board certified by the American Board of Radiology.
A native of Salt Lake City, Dr. Parr received his B.S. in engineering from the University of Utah. Following a post-college job with the U of U’s artificial heart project, Dr. Parr changed his focus to medicine and received his M.D. from the U of U School of Medicine.
Following a residency in diagnostic radiology at the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics, Dr. Parr successfully completed a fellowship in angiography and interventional radiology at the University of California San Diego Medical Center.
He remains affiliated with Utah Imaging Associates in Bountiful, Utah.
Dr. Parr is married and the father of three children. He is passionate about his hobbies, particularly edible landscaping and coaxing plants not native to Utah’s cold climate to thrive.
Chances are you’ve not heard of interventional radiology — an innovative surgical technique available at Tanner Clinic.
Unlike diagnostic radiology which uses imaging as its name describes — to identify problems — interventional radiology moves a step beyond by using imaging as a means of guiding the tools of a skilled surgeon.
Dr. Christopher Parr, a Tanner Clinic-based interventional radiologist, said the goal in a procedure performed using interventional radiology is to be as minimally invasive as possible.
In his practice at Tanner Clinic, Dr. Parr uses ultrasound, fluoroscopy and CT imaging to perform procedures. As he explains, “We use radiologic guidance to perform procedures in a minimally invasive fashion, so when we’re done you won’t have any stitches — you have a skin nick with a little Bandaid on it.”
The uses for such techniques are varied. Among the many procedures Dr. Parr performs are removal of varicose veins, insertion of gastrostomy tubes and the creation of a fistula, or graft, in the arm of a kidney patient to facilitate dialysis.
He performs biopsies, including those for lung and thyroid disorders. For example, if ultrasound confirms the presence of a nodule in the thyroid, interventional radiology can be used to obtain cells to determine if the nodule is malignant. “My area of expertise is actually attaining the material in the least invasive fashion,” he said.
To illustrate another type of procedure, Dr. Parr works with Tanner Clinic urologists to treat a condition called varicocele, much like a varicose vein in a man’s scrotum.
Specialty is still relatively unknown
It is only in recent years that interventional radiology has broken off from diagnostic radiology as its own independent field. Today, said Dr. Parr, only “a small section” of radiologists specialize in the field, which remains very little known among ordinary patients, he said.
“Most people in the medical professions know of our existence, but they may not know everything we do,” he said. “But the public generally doesn’t have any idea we even exist.”