What is interventional radiology?

Interventional radiology is a rapidly growing area of medicine that uses non-surgical or minimally invasive techniques for diagnosis and treatment of certain medical conditions.

Small catheters or other guided instruments are used to obtain images of blood vessels and to perform a range of treatments.

For some procedures, a very small incision is required. This is usually easier for the patient than conventional surgery, with less pain and a shorter recovery time.


Why would I need an interventional procedure?

In many cases, minimally invasive procedures are preferred over conventional surgery. For example, with balloon angioplasty, blocked or narrowed blood vessels can be opened by inserting a very small balloon into the vessel and inflating it.

Image-guided interventional procedures include:

  • Balloon angioplasty (blood vessels)
  • Biopsies (breast, liver)
  • Cyst aspiration (drainage)
  • Uterine artery embolization (fibroids)
  • Kidney stones and gall stones (removal)
  • Carotid artery stenting (circulation in the brain)
  • Endovascular stent grafting (abdominal aortic aneurism)
  • Percutaneous vertebroplasty (for spinal fractures)

Interventional radiology services are generally pain-free, non-invasive and available to both outpatients and inpatients.