What is interventional radiology?

Interventional radiologist treating patient

Interventional radiology (IR) refers to minimally invasive, image-guided medical treatments. Procedures use real-time imaging techniques, including X-rays and ultrasound, to guide the operator.

Where available, IR can be used as a quicker and safer alternative to many types of traditional surgery, resulting in better outcomes for patients and shorter stays in hospital. 

Many IR procedures are life-saving or life-altering. They can be used to remove the blood clot causing a stroke, drain organs with potentially deadly infections or stop severe, life-threatening bleeding caused by a variety of conditions. These include trauma injuries, internal haemorrhages and problems during childbirth. 

Important non-emergency treatments include procedures to destroy cancer tumours, open narrow or blocked arteries and treat painful uterine fibroids.