What is an Interventional Radiologist?

what is an interventional radiologist

What is an Interventional Radiologist?

Pioneers in Non-Surgical Back Treatments  

how interventional radiologist helps your back

What is Interventional Radiology?

Interventional radiology (IR), also known as surgical radiology, is changing the large U.S. landscape of back problems at a rapid pace with revolutionary, minimally-invasive, image guided diagnosis and treatments. Interventional radiology is a medical specialty that employs the most modern and non-surgical techniques available in order to minimize risk to the patient.

Interventional radiology (IR) is not a new field and has been used by physicians for effective diagnosis and treatment of many ailments and diseases for many years including: angioplasty and stent placement, catheter placement, drain insertions, biopsies, dialysis, embolization of blocked arteries and even laser treatment for varicose veins.

Who are Interventional Radiologists?

Interventional radiologists are board-certified physicians who specialize in the least invasive, non-surgical, targeted treatments available, combined with diagnostic and clinical experience across all specialties.

Interventional radiologists use X-rays, MRI and other imaging equipment and technology to advance a catheter in the body, usually in an artery, to treat patients internally at the source of the disease.

Today many conditions that once required surgery can be treated less invasively by interventional radiologists. Interventional radiology treatments offer patients less risk, less pain and less recovery time compared to open surgery.

What Type of Training Do Interventional Radiologists Receive?

Interventional radiology is recognized as a medical specialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Interventional radiologists are board-certified physicians with additional training in non-surgical treatments using imaging to guide them. The board certification for an interventional radiologist includes both Vascular and Interventional Radiology and Diagnostic Radiology which are administered by the American Board of Radiology.

What Does an Interventional Radiologist Do?

Interventional radiologists use x-rays, fluoroscopy, computed tomography (CT) scans, ultrasound (US) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to obtain images which are then used to direct interventional instruments such as needles, catheters and guidewires inside the body for non-surgical diagnosis and treatment. The interventional radiologist is able to use local anesthesia and make a small incision, minimizing the trauma to the patient. Many patients can now be treated by an interventional radiologist instead of a surgeon, and eliminate long hospital stays and recovery times altogether.

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Innovation and Patient Safety

Interventional radiologists are the pioneers of minimally-invasive modern medicine including the invention of angioplasty and the catheter-delivered stent. Interventional radiologists adapt a technique proven to work for one problem and apply it to another, specializing in a wide range of non-surgical treatments. Patient safety is incorporated into the development and practice of IR procedures covering radiation safety, radiation physics, the biological effects of radiation and injury prevention. When it comes to best practices and standards for patient safety and quality care, interventional radiologists are experts.

IR Back Treatments

For many years, surgery has been the only treatment available for many conditions, including serious back problems. Today, interventional radiology treatments are the first-line of care to repair fractures to the spine.

Vertebroplasty allows physicians to use interventional radiology to guide a needle for the injection of biocompatible bone cement inside fractured vertebrae. Balloon Kyphoplasty also uses IR for the needle-guided opening of collapsed or broken vertebrae using a balloon to create a gap for bone cement placement.

The Benefits of IR

Interventional radiology is the preferred choice for diagnosis and repair of broken bones in the spine and can be performed as outpatient surgery. IR eliminates the prolonged pain, hospital stay, bed rest and recovery time associated with traditional back surgery.

The benefits of IR treatments include improvement in mobility and the ability to perform activities of daily living. IR treatments of fractured vertebrae have been clinically shown to relieve back pain and improve quality of life.

The experts at the Spine Fracture Center now offer two minimally-invasive treatments for Spinal Compression Fractures: Vertebroplasty and Kyphon® Balloon Kyphoplasty.

You do not have to feel alone during this time. The team at the Spine Fracture Center truly cares about you and your unique situation and is here to help. Please contact the the Spine Fracture Center for a physician consultation to discuss the risks and whether an interventional radiology procedure is right for you.