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Interventional Radiology Imaging Services

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What is interventional radiology? 

Interventional Radiology (IR) is a subspecialty of Medical Imaging in which minimally invasive procedures are performed using image guidance.  Interventional Radiologists are board-certified physicians who specialize in the treatment and diagnosis of disease. They treat an ever-widening range of conditions inside the body from outside the body by inserting various small instruments or tools, such as catheters or wires, with the use of various X-ray and imaging techniques (i.e. CT, Ultrasound). Interventional Radiology offers an alternative to the surgical treatment of many conditions and in some cases, can eliminate the need for hospitalization. Interventional Radiology procedures are generally easier for patients because they involve no large incisions, less risk and shorter recovery periods.

What procedures do interventional radiologists perform? 

Interventional radiologists perform a vast variety of procedures, including the following:

  • Angiography- an x-ray of the arteries and veins to detect blockage or narrowing of the vessels.
  • Angioplasty - In many cases, the interventional radiologist can treat the blockages/narrowing’s, such as those occurring in the arteries in the legs or kidneys.  They are able to do this by the use of a small balloon on the tip of a catheter.  This small balloon is inserted into a blood vessel and expanded in order to open up the area of blockage/narrowing inside the vessel. This is called balloon angioplasty.
  • Stent Placement- a tiny, expandable coil, called a stent, is placed inside a blood vessel at the site of a blockage. The stent is expanded and embedded in the vessel wall to open up the blockage. This is called angioplasty with stent placement.
  • Percutaneous Biopsies – (Breast, Lymph Node, Soft Tissue, Kidney, Liver, Lung, Prostate, and Thyroid) are performed in several different ways. Some biopsies involve removing a small amount of tissue with a Biopsy System Kit.  This is called Core Biopsy. While others involve removing cells with a very fine needle. This is called Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA). Biopsies can be safely performed with image guidance such as ultrasound, x-ray, or computed tomography (CT). These types of imaging are used to determine exactly where to place the needle and perform the biopsy.
  • PICC Line Insertions – A minimally invasive technique using image guidance to insert a catheter into large veins for IV therapy, antibiotic therapy, medications, chemotherapy drugs and /or nutritional support.
  • Lumbar Puncture – Also known as “Spinal Tap” is a minimally invasive, diagnostic test that involves the removal of a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid -the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Fluoroscopy is used to locate the space between the vertebras and a fine needle is inserted into this space. A fluid sample is obtained and sent for analysis to rule out disease processes such as Multiple Sclerosis or Meningitis.
  • Myelogram- Locates and identifies herniated discs, spinal cord tumors/obstructions. Fluoroscopy is used to locate the space between the vertebras and a fine needle is inserted into this space and contrast is injected. The patient then is transferred to CatScan or MRI where a scan of the ordered area is completed.
  • Drainage/Aspiration - Radiologists use image guidance to place a fine needle or small catheter to remove or drain fluid/abscess from an area of the body such as the chest, abdomen or pelvis. 
  • Thoracentesis – This procedure is done when a pocket of excessive fluid is detected in the lung. Using ultrasound guidance the radiologist is able to detect the best placement for catheter insertion in order to drain the fluid. This procedure is minimally invasive and the catheter is removed once the fluid has been drained. Thoracentesis is done as either “therapeutic”, for symptom relief, or “diagnostic” requiring fluid sample to be sent for analysis.
  • Paracentesis – This procedure is done when excessive fluid (Ascites) is detected in the abdomen. Using ultrasound guidance the radiologist is able to detect the best placement for catheter insertion in order to drain the fluid. This procedure is minimally invasive and the catheter is removed once the fluid has been drained. Paracentesis is done as either “therapeutic”, for symptom relief, or “diagnostic” requiring fluid sample to be sent for analysis.