Medical Definition of Interventional radiology (IR)

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Interventional radiology (IR): Interventional radiologists employ image guidance methods to gain access to the deep interstices of most organs and organ systems. Through a galaxy of techniques, they can treat certain conditions percutaneously (through the skin) that might otherwise require surgery. (The technology includes the use of balloons, catheters, microcatheters, stents, therapeutic embolization (deliberately clogging up a blood vessel), etc.)

The specialty of interventional radiology is growing and becoming increasingly diverse. It overlaps with other surgical arenas including interventional cardiology, vascular surgery, endoscopy, laparoscopy and other minimally invasive techniques, such as biopsies.

Specialists performing interventional radiology procedures today include not only radiologists but also other types of doctors including general surgeons, vascular surgeons, cardiologists (heart doctors), gastroenterologists (GI specialists), gynecologists, and urologists (urinary specialists).

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018