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Interventional radiologists are board-certified physicians who specialize in minimally invasive, targeted treatments. They offer the most in-depth knowledge of the least invasive treatments available coupled with diagnostic and clinical experience across all specialties. They use X-rays, MRI and other imaging to advance a catheter in the body, usually in an artery, to treat at the source of the disease non-surgically. As the inventors of angioplasty and the catheter-delivered stent, which were first used in the legs to treat peripheral arterial disease, interventional radiologists pioneered minimally invasive modern medicine.
Today many conditions that once required surgery can be treated nonsurgically by interventional radiologists. Interventional radiology treatments offer less risk, less pain and less recovery time compared to open surgery.
Medical Breakthroughs: Interventional radiology in the news
Interventional radiology is a recognized medical specialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Interventional radiologists are board-certified physicians with additional advanced training in minimally invasive, targeted treatments performed using imaging to guide them. Their board certification includes both Vascular and Interventional Radiology and Diagnostic Radiology which are administered by the American Board of Radiology.
Interventional radiologists' unique blend of skills fosters innovation and enables them to quickly adapt their imaging expertise to pioneer nonsurgical treatments that are guided by imaging. They adapt a technique proven to work for one problem and apply it to another. When it comes to the best practices for safely performing minimally invasive treatments, interventional radiologists pioneered the procedures and the standards for safety and quality. Patient safety is incorporated into the development of these advances because interventional radiology and diagnostic radiology training programs include radiation safety, radiation physics, the biological effects of radiation, and injury prevention.
The Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) publishes guidelines for minimally invasive treatments, including criteria for adequate training for specific interventional procedures, as well as expected success and complication rates. These evidence-based guidelines are used by the FDA, hospitals and regulatory groups.
For many years, surgery was the only treatment available for many conditions. Today, interventional radiology treatments are first-line care for a wide variety of conditions. It is important to get a second opinion and know all of your treatment options before consenting to any procedure or surgery.