Interventional Radiology (IR) is a medical subspecialty that performs a number of minimally invasive procedures using medical imaging guidance such as x-ray fluoroscopy, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, or ultrasound.
Through IR, both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures can be performed through very small incisions or holes in the body. Diagnostic IR procedures are intended to aid in making a diagnosis or to guide further medical treatment. For example; Imaging can be achieved by taking an image-guided biopsy of a tumor or by injecting a contrast agent into a hollow structure such as a blood vessel or duct. Therapeutic IR procedures provide direct treatment. Catheter-based drug delivery, medical device placement (e.g. stents), and angioplasty of narrowed structures are examples of such procedures.
The main benefits of interventional radiology techniques are that they can reach the deep structures of the body through a body orifice or small incision using small needles and wires. That decreases risks, pain, and recovery compared to open procedures. Real-time visualization also allows precision guidance to the abnormality, making the procedure or diagnosis more accurate. These benefits are weighed against the other risks of lack of immediate access to internal structures (such as bleeding or a perforation occur), and the risks of radiation exposure such as cataracts and cancer.