“Interventional Radiology” (IR) refers to a range of techniques which rely on the use radiological image guidance (X-ray fluoroscopy, ultrasound, computed tomography [CT] or magnetic resonance imaging [MRI]) to precisely target therapy. As many IR procedures start with passing a needle through the skin to the target it is sometimes called pinhole surgery! Interventional radiology is a medical specialty that has been called “The Surgery of the 21st Century.”
Interventional radiologists are doctors who are trained in radiology and interventional therapy. The essential skills of an interventional radiologist are in diagnostic image interpretation and the manipulation of needles and the use of fine catheter tubes and wires to navigate around the body under imaging control. Remarkably, most incisions are no larger than the lead tip of a pencil!
There is hardly any area of hospital medicine where IR has not had some impact on patient management. The range of conditions which can be treated by IR is enormous and continually expanding.
Well recognised advantages of these minimally invasive techniques include reduced risks, shorter hospital stays, lower costs, greater comfort, smooth convalescence and quicker return to work. The effectiveness of treatment is often being better than with traditional treatments