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