Interventional Radiology

Interventional radiology (IR) is a rapidly growing field of imaging within radiology. With its beginnings in the mid-1970's, interventional radiology gives doctors an improved ability to see inside the body for diagnostic purposes or to render a variety of treatments. A needle biopsy of the breast or lung is an example of using interventional radiology to determine a diagnosis. Another common diagnostic interventional procedure is angiography, where a catheter (small tube) is used to enter the body and examine arteries or veins to diagnose blockages or other vessel problems. Interventional radiology is also used in stent placement (a stent is a small, flexible mesh tube used to keep arteries open) in the treatment of an occluded coronary artery.

Because interventional radiology procedures are less invasive (meaning no surgery or anesthesia), risk, pain and recovery time after these procedures is reduced. Most of the interventional radiology procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis or require only a short hospital stay.

Medical doctors with specialized training for interventional radiological procedures are called interventional radiologists. Their specialized training is certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties.