Somerset Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Clinic

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What is Interventional Radiology?

  • Interventional radiology is a specialty of radiology, in which image-guided procedures are used to diagnose and treat a multitude of diseases across all body systems. Interventional radiologists are board-certified physicians who specialize in these minimally invasive, targeted treatments. They offer the most in-depth knowledge of the least invasive treatments available coupled with diagnostic and clinical experience across all specialties. They use X-rays, CT, ultrasound, MRI and other imaging modalities to advance a catheter or probe in the body to treat at the source of the disease non-surgically. As the inventors of angioplasty and the catheter-delivered stent, which were first used in the legs to treat peripheral arterial disease, interventional radiologists are the pioneers of minimally invasive modern medicine.

    Today many conditions that once required surgery can be treated nonsurgically by interventional radiologists. Some of these procedures are done for purely diagnostic purposes (e.g.,>angiogram), while others are done for treatment purposes (e.g.,angioplasty). Interventional radiology treatments offer less risk, pain, and recovery time compared to open surgery.

    The basic concept behind interventional radiology is to diagnose or treat pathology using the least invasive technique possible. Images are used to direct interventional procedures, which are usually done with needles and narrow tubes called catheters. The images provide road maps that allow the interventional radiologist to guide these instruments through the body to the areas containing disease. By minimizing the physical trauma to the patient, peripheral interventions can reduce infection rates and recovery time as well as shorten hospital stays.