Interventional radiology (IR) or vascular and interventional radiology (VIR) is a sub-specialty of radiology in which minimally invasive procedures are performed using image guidance. Some of these procedures are done for purely diagnostic purposes (e.g., angiogram), while others are done for treatment purposes (e.g., angioplasty). Pictures are used to direct these procedures, which are usually done with needles or other tiny instruments like small tubes called catheters. The images provide road maps that allow the radiologist to guide these instruments throughout the body to the area of interest.
The training of IR procedures varies depending on whether you are a physician or a radiology imaging professional such as a Radiologic Technologist or Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. Radiologist physicians usually complete a preliminary year of internship training, followed by a four-year diagnostic radiology residency program and then a one or two year fellowship in vascular & interventional radiology.
As you can see, there are many procedures that fall under the category of interventional. These procedures are performed using different modalities such as CT, Ultrasound, and MRI’s, for example. Each one has it’s advantages, depending on the type of procedure being performed. The purpose of this article is to get you familiar with common these procedures. This is by no means an exhaustive list of procedures that fall under the umbrella of interventional.