What Is Interventional Radiology?

What Is Interventional Radiology?

Interventional radiology (IR) is a specialized field within radiology where doctors use medical imaging to guide minimally invasive surgical procedures that diagnose, treat, and cure many kinds of conditions.

Interventional radiology can be used instead of surgery for many conditions. In some cases, it can eliminate the need for hospitalization. Basic interventional radiology (IR) procedures consist of image-guided fine-needle aspiration cytology and biopsy, tru-cut (core) biopsy, needle aspiration/drainage and percutaneous catheter drainage. Imaging modalities used include fluoroscopy, MRI, CT, and ultrasound.

What Does An Interventional Radiologist Do?

Interventional radiologists diagnose and treat disease. They treat a wide range of conditions in the body by inserting various small tools, such as catheters or wires from outside the body. X-ray and imaging techniques such as CT and ultrasound help guide the radiologist.

What Type Of Procedures Are Performed In Interventional Radiology?

These minimally invasive treatments can cure or alleviate symptoms of vascular disease, stroke, uterine fibroids, or cancer.

Examples of IR Procedures:

Angioplasty – repair or unblocking of blood vessels

Stenting – small mesh tubes that treat narrow or weak arteries

Thrombolysis – dissolving blood clots

Embolization – block blood flow to cancer cells

Biopsies – studies of tissues

What Are The Risks Of Interventional Radiology?

Like all medical procedures, interventional radiology has risks. There is a chance of bleeding or infection. But compared to other procedures, the risks of IR procedures are low and limited.

What Are The Advantages Of Interventional Radiology?

IR focuses on blood vessels and the lymphatic system and can be used to treat a wide range of conditions — from cancer to infertility.

Compared to conventional open surgery, interventional radiology offers less pain, less blood loss, lower risk of infection, and faster recovery time. Those who are at higher risk from anesthesia will also benefit from interventional radiology, as interventionalists use only a moderate sedation.

Interventional radiology reduces costrecovery timepain, and risk to patients who would otherwise need traditional open surgery. Because of this, IR has become the primary way to treat many types of conditions. The treatments IR can effectively perform are ever-changing and expanding.These minimally invasive treatments can cure or alleviate symptoms of vascular disease, stroke, uterine fibroids, or cancer.

How Long Does An IR Procedure Take?

While most IR cases take on average an hour to an hour-and-a-half, some are as short as 20 minutes and others as long as six hours.

What Equipment Is Used In Interventional Radiology?

Puncture needles, guidewires, sheath systems, and catheters represent some of the most commonly used daily instruments by interventional radiologists.

Is Interventional Radiology Considered Surgery?

Interventional radiology is considered “minimally invasive surgery” because procedures are performed through tiny holes in the skin. In this medical specialty doctors to perform surgical procedures to diagnose, treat, and cure a variety of conditions in a minimally invasive fashion.

Do Interventional Radiologists Perform Biopsy?

One of the most common interventional radiology procedures performed to diagnose or exclude cancer is imaging-guided biopsy. Under fluoroscopic, CT or ultrasound guidance, small needles can be placed in areas of abnormality, and samples can be taken for cytologic or pathologic testing.

What Is The Difference Between Interventional And Diagnostic Radiology?

Interventional radiology originated within diagnostic radiology as an invasive diagnostic subspecialty. IR is now a therapeutic and diagnostic specialty that comprises a wide range of minimally invasive image-guided therapeutic procedures as well as invasive diagnostic imaging.

How Is Interventional Treatment Better Than Surgery?

IR procedures minimize risk to the patient, are less invasive, less painful, and safer than surgery. Patients experience shorter recovery times after an IR procedure than they normally experience after surgery. Interventional radiology is often used for: Arteriovenous Malformations (AVM)

Are Patients Given Anesthesia  For Interventional Radiology?

In most cases, patients will receive an injection at the start of the procedure to provide necessary dye, medication or sedation. IR patients rarely receive general anesthesia.

(Image courtesy: commons.wikimedia.com)

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