What is Interventional Radiology?
Interventional radiology (IR) is a fast-growing subspecialty of radiology, in which radiologists perform minimally invasive procedures using image guidance. Today, IR procedures are routinely used to treat a variety of medical conditions that once demanded open surgery. Interventional radiologists (IRs) use their expertise in reading X-rays, ultrasound and other medical images to guide small instruments such as catheters (tubes that measure just a few millimeters in diameter) through the blood vessels or other pathways to treat disease percutaneously (through the skin). The size and flexibility of these tools demand only tiny incisions, and the clarity and detail of advanced imaging technology, enable the interventional radiologist to precisely navigate the instruments and operate on the targeted site.
Originally introduced in the 1970s as a way to non-surgically clear blocked blood vessels (angioplasty), IR techniques have evolved and been adapted to almost all branches of medicine. For example, in cardiology, IR techniques are used to treat coronary artery blockages. In oncology, interventional radiologists can biopsy tissue and treat tumors. In gynecology, IR procedures are used to treat uterine fibroids.
Benefits of Interventional Radiological Procedures
IR procedures are performed by interventional radiologists--physicians who are board certified radiologists with additional training in performing invasive procedures. They have in-depth knowledge of minimally invasive techniques, expertise in the use of imaging technology and clinical experience across medical specialties.
Where to go from here?Next Topic: Procedures / Services
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