Interventional Radiology (IR) is minimally invasive, image guided surgery and, until recently, was a subspecialty of radiology. IR is now a recognized primary medical specialty, which benefits patients by providing well-trained minimally invasive, image guided specialists. A primary specialty is different from a subspecialty as it designates a distinct area of medicine, rather than an area of focus within an existing specialty. Most people don’t realize the differences between a diagnostic radiologist and an interventional radiologist. Diagnostic radiologists use medical images such as X-rays, fluoroscopy or continuous X-rays, ultrasound, CT scans and MRI scans to diagnose diseases anywhere in the body.
Interventional radiologists use medical images to guide and perform minimally invasive, non-surgical procedures to treat diseases anywhere in the body. Interventional radiologists invented angiography, cardiac catheterization, angioplasty also known as balloon dilation of blood vessels, stents that prop open clogged vessels and laser treatment of varicose veins.
Interventional Radiology seeks to treat disease with the most minimally invasive techniques possible. IR physicians use images to guide tiny instruments, such as small needles, narrow tubes or catheters, inside the body to diseased areas. Interventional Radiology minimizes physical trauma and pain, reduces infection rates and speeds recovery time for patients.