Interventional Radiology: What Is It?

Interventional Radiology: What Is It?

Interventional radiology (IR) is a medical specialization that makes use of medical imaging techniques as guides for doctors in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the blood vessels and the lymph vessels.  Image-guided therapy is another term for Interventional radiology.

What Are Interventional Radiologists?

 Medical doctors who went through years of highly specialized and intensive training in anatomy and image guidance are called Interventional radiologists. These are the doctors who perform interventional radiology tests and treatments.

Interventional radiologists treat patients who have disorders of the lymphatic system and vascular or circulatory system. These maladies may either be present at birth or congenital or may be acquired after birth. Interventional radiologists use tools in all sizes depending on the specific area of concern to be addressed and accurate imaging to diagnose, manage and treat these and other disorders.

Who Can Benefit from interventional Radiology (IR) Treatments?

Primary care physicians and other specialists may refer their patients to an interventional radiologist for a diverse range of concerns. Most patients who undergo Interventional radiology diagnosis or management have a mass or a vascular anomaly that can be treated with image-guided therapies normally in conjunction with conventional surgery or medical therapy.

Interventional radiology is also beneficial for patients who have narrowing of their blood vessels or an aneurysm (ballooning of blood vessels that have the fatal potential to rupture). In patients who have an accumulation of pus or fluid, Interventional radiology would ensure the precise and secure insertion of drainage tubes. Masses that need to be properly identified and staged are more exactly biopsied with the guidance of interventional radiology.

interventional radiology Australia

How Do Interventional Radiology (IR) Procedures Work?

In almost all Interventional radiology procedures, interventional radiologists use an imaging technique, such as an ultrasound, CAT scan, or fluoroscopy in order to produce error-free real-time images. Acquiring these images would greatly aid in  diagnosis and therapeutic plans as listed below:

  • ablation – destroy malignant tumors of the bone and soft tissues, including:
  • an angiography – to visualize the interior of blood vessels and treat anomalies like narrowings or aneurysms
  • arteriovenous malformations
  • biopsy – taking a tissue sample of a tumor or organ to identify the cause of the signs and symptoms experienced by the patient
  • central line insertion – to guide in the pinpoint insertion of PICC lines, ports, dialysis catheters and other tubes that need the most precision
  • cryoablation – the use of extremely low temperatures to kill tumors
  • drain accumulated pus, abscess or focus of infection
  • drain insertion – to reduce the accumulation of fluid in the lungs, abdomen or other body cavities
  • hemangiomas (tumors containing blood vessels in varying degrees)
  • joint injections or aspirations – to provide pain relief and improved mobility in cases of injury, arthritis, or inflammation
  • lymphatic malformations
  • microwave ablation
  • photoevaporation – the use of lasers to treat bleeding and painful skin lesions secondary to vascular malformations
  • placing a chest tube – to be able to improve breathing by removing an obstruction or to drain fluid or pus from the lungs
  • procedures involving the gastrointestinal tract or placing a gastrostomy or feeding tube
  • radiofrequency ablation – using high-energy radio waves to heat and destroy malignant cells
  • treat disorders of the blood vessels or vascular malformations, including:
  • tumor treatments – to insert small needles inside tumors in an effort to kill them while sparing the surrounding tissues
  • venous malformations

What Are the Advantages of Interventional Radiology (IR) Procedures?

  • Interventional radiology diagnostic procedures and treatment are considered to be minimally invasive.
  • Interventional radiology procedures are less painful and require shorter periods of recovery as compared to conventional surgery due to the fact that they create incisions that are much smaller.
  • Patients develop very minimal to no scarring.
  • Patients do not need to be given high doses of sedatives or anesthesia because the procedures are generally fast with the slightest degree of pain or discomfort.
  • Patients have the option to undergo most procedures in an outpatient setting.
  • Patients normally have shorter periods of recovery

Since interventional radiology Australia treatments are image-guided, they are very accurate, avoiding unnecessary damage to the surrounding organs or tissues of the target organ.

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