Interventional radiologists diagnose and treat disease. They treat a wide range of
conditions in the body by inserting various small tools, such as catheters or wires
from outside the body. X-ray and imaging techniques such as ultrasound help guide
the radiologist. Interventional radiology can be used instead of surgery for many
conditions. In some cases, it can eliminate the need for hospitalization.
The interventional radiologist is a medical doctor who has completed an accredited
residency program. He or she can then take the board exam given by the American Board
of Radiology. Next, the interventional radiologist completes a fellowship-training
program. These experts work closely with other doctors and play an important role
on the treatment team.
Angiography. This is an X-ray of the arteries and veins to find blockage or narrowing of the vessels as
well as other problems.
Angioplasty. The doctor inserts a small balloon-tipped catheter into a blood vessel. Then he
or she inflates the balloon to open up an area of blockage inside the vessel.
Embolization. The doctor inserts a substance through a catheter into a blood vessel to stop blood
flow thru that vessel. This can be done to control excessive bleeding.
Gastrostomy tubes. The doctor inserts a feeding tube into the stomach if you can’t take food by mouth.
Intravascular ultrasound. The use of ultrasound inside a blood vessel to better see the inside of the vessel
to find problems.
Stent placement. The doctor places a tiny, expandable mesh coil, called a stent, inside a blood vessel
at the site of a blockage. He or she expands the stent to open up the blockage.
Foreign body removal. The doctor inserts a catheter into a blood vessel to remove a foreign body in the
Needle biopsy. The doctor inserts a small needle into the abnormal area in almost any part of the
body, guided by imaging techniques, to take a tissue biopsy. This type of biopsy can
provide a diagnosis without surgical intervention. An example of this procedure is
called the needle breast biopsy.
IVC filters. The doctor inserts a small filter into the inferior vena cava (IVC), a large vein
in your abdomen. The filter catches blood clots that may go into your lungs
Injection of clot-dissolving agents. The doctor injects clot-dissolving drugs, such as tissue plasminogen activator,
into the body to dissolve blood clots and increase blood flow to your arms or legs
or organs in of your body.
Catheters insertions. The doctor inserts a catheter into large veins for giving chemotherapy drugs, nutritional
support, and hemodialysis. He or she may also insert a catheter before a bone-marrow
Cancer treatment. The doctor gives the cancer medicine directly to the tumor site.