What is interventional radiology (IR)?

IR uses imaging to help physicians perform a variety of minimally invasive procedures with less pain, less risk and quicker recovery time than regular surgery.

Ultrasound is the most common imaging method used. Others include:

IR can be used to diagnose and treat disorders or perform other procedures. The most common uses are:

  • Placement of feeding and drainage tubes, peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) and shunts
  • Needle biopsies
  • Drainage of abscesses or other abnormal collections of pus/fluid in the body

IR may be used instead of surgery to treat diseases including kidney or liver problems, and blood clots.

Benefits of minimally invasive procedures include:

  • Higher levels of safety and efficiency
  • Possibility of avoiding surgery
  • Less painful than open surgery
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Small incision that usually requires no stitches and causes less scarring
  • Usually less costly than surgery