Interventional radiology (IR) procedures are non-surgical, targeted treatments that use various radiology techniques (fluoroscopy, CT, MRI, ultrasound, etc.) to guide small devices, such as catheters, through blood vessels or other pathways to treat diseases percutaneously (through the skin). Interventional procedures can often replace surgical procedures and because they are less invasive and less traumatic, they are more easily tolerated and recovery times are significantly reduced in most cases.
Interventional radiology procedures offer benefits to you, our patients, in terms of risk, pain and recovery time, all of which are reduced by the specialty’s non-surgical nature. The cost tends to be lower than open surgery or other alternatives, and advancements in imaging technology mean that radiologists are viewing high-quality anatomic detail.
For an excellent introduction to the miracle of interventional radiology, see Without a Scalpel—the Secret World of Interventional Radiology. Also see a dramatic docuseries on interventional radiology featuring real world cases at Without a Scalpel—the Technology and People Behind Modern Surgery.