Doctor taking blood pressure of patient.

Interventional Radiology

Many conditions that once required surgery can now be treated non-surgically by interventional radiologists. Interventional radiology treatments offer less pain, risk and recovery time compared to open surgery.

Interventional radiology, or image-guided surgery, is a sub-specialty of radiology where minimally invasive procedures are performed using image guidance.

Some of these procedures are done for purely diagnostic purposes (such as an angiogram), while others are done for treatment purposes (such as angioplasty). Images 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 an interventional radiologist to guide these instruments through the body to the diseased area.

Most interventional radiology procedures are performed using an IV sedative to help you relax. After the procedure, you may have some discomfort in the area of the body where the procedure was performed.

Common interventional radiology procedures include:

  • Needle biopsies
  • Venous access procedures (IV catheters for antibiotics, chemo-therapy, dialysis)
  • Drainage procedures to relieve pressure in the kidney or liver
  • Removal of infected fluid from an abscess
  • Placement of feeding tubes through the abdominal wall directly into the stomach
  • Injections of spinal nerves to relieve pain
  • Injection of bone cement into vertebral fractures to relieve pain caused by compression
  • Fractures (vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty)
  • Tumor therapy for cancers of the liver or kidney, using directly injected chemotherapy in the liver, freezing (cryoablation) of the kidney, or radio-frequency ablation (heat) in the liver

Most procedures will require a lab and discontinuance of blood thinning medications prior to your procedure. Talk to your doctor about all medications you take.

Please do not eat or drink anything past midnight the night before your procedure, unless you are otherwise instructed. This includes gum, mints and water. 

What to expect the day of your exam
  • Please bathe or shower the morning of your procedure.
  • You are required to have an escort drive you home after your procedure. Escorts of minors must remain on site while the patient is in our care
  • Things to bring with you: photo ID, insurance/pharmacy cards, medication list with dosages, allergy list with reactions
  • Leave all your valuables and jewelry at home
  • A receptionist will register you and ask you to sign a hospital consent form
  • You will be escorted to the interventional radiology pre-op area and staff will review your medical history and current medication list
  • You will change into a hospital gown
  • The radiologist will talk with you regarding the procedure and have you sign the procedure consent form
  • Procedure times vary, ranging from 2 - 8 hours, with some procedures requiring an overnight stay
Exam results

A board certified radiologist will interpret your images and create a report for your doctor. Please call your doctor for results.

Doctors Specializing in Interventional Radiology

At Providence, you'll have access to a vast network of dedicated and compassionate providers who offer personalized care by focusing on treatment, prevention and health education.