What is interventional radiology?
Interventional radiology (IR) uses minimally invasive techniques to diagnose and treat many conditions. IR uses advanced imaging – like CT scans, X-rays, and ultrasound – to view and guide tiny instruments or tools through blood vessels to treat conditions at their source inside the body. Procedures are done through small incisions with catheters and wires that are about the size of a piece of spaghetti. Once the instrument is in place, the interventional radiologist delivers the therapy directly to the problem, sparing the normal tissues in the surrounding area while also avoiding a large, open incision.
What is IR used for?
IR can be an option to treat many conditions, such as aneurysms; liver, kidney, and lung cancers; uterine fibroids and chronic pelvic pain in women; peripheral artery disease; deep vein thrombosis; and infertility issues. For example, diabetic patients with foot ulcers often have severely clogged leg arteries, which impair ulcer healing, leading to amputation. IR doctors use the latest advanced techniques to open up these clogged arteries from inside the blood vessel, effectively preventing amputation.
What are the benefits of IR?
Minimally invasive IR procedures have fewer complications than traditional surgery. Because there is no large incision, there is less pain, less bleeding, and a much quicker recovery. General anesthesia is often not needed. And, frequently, procedures do not require hospitalization, so patients are able to go home the same day.
Interventional radiologists are board-certified medical doctors who have completed several years of advanced training following medical school.