Interventional radiologists (IRs) use their expertise in reading X-rays, ultrasound and other medical images to guide small instruments such as catheters (tubes that measure just a few millimeters in diameter) through the blood vessels or other pathways to treat disease percutaneously (through the skin). These procedures are typically much less invasive and much less costly than traditional surgery
Common Uses of Vascular & Interventional Radiology
Angiography An X-ray exam of the arteries and veins to diagnose blockages and other blood vessel problems.
Balloon Angioplasty and Stenting Opens blocked or narrowed blood vessels by inserting a very small balloon into the vessel and inflating it. A metallic stent may be deployed to keep the vessel open longer.
Arthrography Involves the injection of contrast agents into a joint using imaging guidance. Often used in conjunction with MRI, CT or plain X-rays to enhance visualization of structures inside the joint. Medications may also be injected into the joint for pain management.
Central Venous Access Insertion of a tube to allow patients to receive medication or nutrients directly into the blood stream or so blood can be drawn.
Pain Management Imaging guidance is useful for the precise targeting of body parts to be injected with medication. Common procedures using imaging guidance include Epidural Steroid Injections for back pain or sciatica, spine facet injections, and injections of joints such as the shoulder, hip, elbow, and ankle.
Myelography Delivery of contrast into the spinal canal using X-ray guidance. Used in conjunction with CT scanning to evaluate for narrowing of the spinal canal and impingement of the nerves exiting the spinal canal.
Hemodialysis Access Maintenance Use of angioplasty or thrombolysis to open blocked grafts for hemodialysis.
Needle Biopsy Diagnostic test for breast, lung and other cancers; an alternative to surgical biopsy.
Embolization Delivery of clotting agents directly to an area that is bleeding or to block blood flow to an aneurysm or a mass.
Additional information is available at: www.sirweb.org, Society of Interventional Radiology