Interventional Radiology (IR)

What Is Interventional Radiology?

Interventional Radiology (IR) is a subspecialty of radiology which represents a major advance in medicine, using minimally invasive procedures that eliminate the necessity for large incisions, with less risk, less pain and shorter recovery times than traditional surgical procedures. IR procedures are performed by specially trained interventional radiologists who use a variety of imaging tools to see internal structures of the body as they intervene with appropriate treatment delivered through catheters or via other tiny instruments that are inserted through small incisions or natural pathways. The images provide road maps that allow the interventional radiologist to guide these instruments through the body to the areas of interest.

When Would I Need Interventional Radiology?

The list of conditions for which interventional radiology is effective continues to grow as new procedures are developed. Patients are commonly referred to interventional radiologists for vascular and gastrointestinal access, biopsies of masses or organs, drainage of abnormal collections, and treatment for blockage of the urinary or biliary system. Interventional radiologists can also treat a number of vascular problems including vascular malformations and tumors, varicoceles, blockage or bleeding of blood vessels.

How Can I Prepare My Child For The Procedure?

Some procedures require an office visit and physical examination by a radiologist before your child’s procedure is scheduled.  This is done to ensure that the procedure corresponds to your child’s symptoms, to inform you about the course of action, and to answer any questions you may have.
When you schedule your child’s appointment, you will be informed about any specific preparations for your child’s procedure.
If your child will be sedated, you will be asked to keep your child from eating or drinking for a specified number of hours before the procedure. 

What Can My Child And I Expect To Experience? 

While interventional procedures are chosen as an alternative to surgery, you should be prepared for some similarities with conventional surgery. Your child will be sedated for many of the procedures, during which they are sleepy but can be aroused if necessary. One of the radiologists or a pediatric nurse anesthetist will administer the sedative or anesthesia and monitor your child until they awaken following the procedure. They will be treated in a special radiology room that may look similar to a surgical suite, and the staff will probably be wearing surgical “scrubs,” head coverings, and gloves. 
Your child will probably spend some time in a recovery area, where the staff will monitor the child for a period of time before the child is dismissed.  Specific details of the procedure will be explalined to you by the interventional radiologist and staff members.

Are There Side Effects Or Complications?

As with surgery, interventional procedures can have complications.  These will be discussed with you before you are asked to sign a consent form.

Is There Any Follow-up Care?

Follow-up care instructions will be given to you at the time of your child’s procedure.  All such care is specific to the procedure performed and your child’s personal health condition.

More Information

For more information on Interventional Radiology, please select one of the Information Pamphlets provided from the American College of Radiology (ACR) and Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) below:
Vascular Access Procedures   Magnetic Resonance (MR) - Angiography
Angioplasty and Vascular Stenting   Needle Biopsy of Lung (Chest) Nodules
Catheter Angiography   Radiofrequency Ablation of Liver Tumors
Catheter Embolization   Thrombolysis
Computed Tomography (CT) Angiography   Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt (TIPS)
Detachable Coil Embolization   Vertebroplasty
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