Interventional radiology (IR)

What is Interventional Radiology?

Interventional radiology is a specialized field within radiology. In interventional radiology, doctors not only interpret your medical images, but they also perform minimally invasive surgical procedures through small incisions in the body.

In interventional radiology, doctors use medical imaging to guide minimally invasive surgical procedures that diagnose, treat, and cure many kinds of conditions. Imaging modalities used include fluoroscopy, CT and ultrasound.  

If you were to be in the room during a typical IR procedure, you’d see the patient lying on an operating table with a specialized X-ray camera–a fluoroscope–above them. The radiologist would be wearing necessary protective coverings, a blue gown, and a mask. They would be guiding needles and wire-looking medical equipment through the patient’s body while looking at the medical images projected on the screen. It’s amazing how they can use medical images to see exactly where their equipment is located and how to manoeuvre inside the body without making any major incisions.

Why Interventional Radiology?

Interventional radiology procedures can be less expensive, less risky and less painful than traditional surgeries.  In some cases, they can even eliminate the need for you to be admitted to the hospital!  Oftentimes, IR procedures are also more effective than the traditional surgical counterpart.  No wonder many surgeries are being switched to this method.

Interventional radiologists make small incisions, usually in your abdomen, and use needles and catheters to treat conditions inside your body. Medical images are used to guide their catheters through your blood vessels, arteries, and organs. 

Examples of IR procedures