Interventional Radiology: General Interventions

What Is Interventional Radiology?

Interventional Radiology is a subspecialty of radiology that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of certain conditions using small wires and catheters while watching the progress of a procedure using imaging equipment. These procedures are considered minimally invasive and are performed through a very small cut in the skin. They are much easier than having surgery because they involve no surgical incisions and cause much less pain. An interventional radiologist is a physician who specializes in performing these procedures.

General Interventions

  • Angiography with Angioplasty and Stent Placement: Angiography is an x-ray exam of the arteries and veins used to diagnose blockages and other blood vessel problems. During the exam, the radiologist will insert a catheter into the artery through a small nick in the skin, and a contrast agent will be injected. In many cases, the interventional radiologist can treat a blocked blood vessel without surgery at the same time the angiogram is performed. When stenting is required, a balloon is inflated in the artery to compress the plaque against the wall of the blood vessel and open up the artery. Usually, a tiny wire cylinder called a “stent” is inserted and acts like a scaffolding to keep the artery open.
  • Biopsy: A biopsy is a procedure in which an interventional radiologist uses a special needle to remove tissue from an organ or bone. The tissue sample is used to check for signs of damage or disease and may help determine whether additional therapy is required. For more on these procedures, click here.

Patient Preparation

If your physician has referred you for one of these procedures, you may be seen in our interventional radiology clinic to speak to the nurse or interventional radiologist to discuss the procedure and have pre-procedural imaging. While many procedures are done on an outpatient basis, some of the more extensive procedures will be performed in a hospital setting. Please give your interventional radiologist a list of any medications you take and allergies when you come in for your procedure. The radiologist will work with your primary physician to help determine the best treatment plan.