What is Interventional Radiology (IR)?

Interventional radiology (IR) is a specialized field within radiology. In interventional radiology, doctors not only interpret your medical images, but they also perform minimally invasive surgical procedures through small incisions in the body.

In interventional radiology (also called IR), doctors use medical imaging to guide minimally invasive surgical procedures that diagnose, treat, and cure many kinds of conditions

Interventional radiologists make small incisions, usually in your abdomen, and use needles and catheters to treat conditions inside your body. Medical images are used to guide their catheters through your blood vessels, arteries, and organs. Cool, right?

Interventional radiology is an advanced treatment alternative to traditional surgery. Through a tiny incision in your skin, interventional radiologists are able to deliver precise treatment for common and life-threatening conditions. Because interventional radiology is less invasive than surgery, patients often experience quicker recovery and, in many cases, more effective results.

With minimized risk and pain compared to surgery, interventional radiology leverages advanced imaging techniques, such as ultrasounds, X-rays, and CT/MRI scans, to see inside your body and treat a variety of conditions.

Why Interventional Radiology?

Interventional radiology reduces cost, recovery time, pain, and risk to patients who would otherwise need traditional open surgery. Because of this, IR has become the primary way to treat many types of conditions. The treatments IR can effectively perform are ever-changing and expanding.

Examples of IR Procedures?

Biopsies - studies of tissues via needle sampling (core or fine needle) under imaging guidance

Embolization - block blood flow to cancer cell or bleeders. e.g. TACE for hepatocellular carcinoma, Coiling for cerebral aneurysms, Glue/particle/Onyx for AVMS.

Thrombolysis - dissolving blood clots

Drainage - to drain abnormal fluid collections like effusions, cysts or abscesses. Can be done thru needle or catheter drainage. other examples: nephrostomy placement, PTBD (percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage), Cholecystostomy placement.

Interventional Radiologists?

Interventional radiologist attended four years of medical school to become a doctor. Then, they completed a four-year residency in diagnostic radiology before completing their highly specialized two-year fellowship in IR. They are trained extensively in both diagnostic radiology (how to interpret and accurately diagnose medical images) and interventional therapy (performing IR procedures).

As part of your care team, your interventional radiologist may also work with nurse practitioners and physician assistants who also have received specialized training in interventional radiology. In addition, interventional radiologists work closely with doctors in other medical specialties to ensure personalized care based on your individual needs.

Should I eat before my IR procedure?

Your interventional radiologist will advise you during your pre-procedure consultation of any nutritional guidelines to follow. Generally speaking, you may be required to stop eating solid foods at least 6 hours before your procedure.

Can I continue taking my regular medications before my IR procedure?

Your interventional radiologist will advise you during your pre-procedure consultation of what medications you should or shouldn’t continue to take. In most cases, your doctor will advise you to continue taking your regular medications. However, your radiologist will likely advise you to stop taking any blood thinning medications for a certain number of days before the procedure.

Will I be aware during my IR procedure? Will I receive general anesthesia?

Unlike traditional surgery, patients undergoing interventional radiology procedures generally do not receive general anesthesia. Since general anesthesia isn’t typically necessary for interventional radiology procedures, you’ll benefit from a quicker recovery and less risk of complications.

Instead, your care team will generally numb the incision area with a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort. Then they will use an intravenous (IV) line to deliver sedation, which will make you more comfortable and relaxed during your procedure. You can rest easy knowing that you will feel minimal pain.

Depending on your procedure, age, and medical condition, your sedation level may range from:

Minimal – You will be drowsy but able to talk

Moderate – You may fall asleep and be unaware of your surroundings for some of the procedure

Deep (“Twilight”) – You will be asleep but will breathe on your own. You will have very little memory of the procedure

How soon can I leave after my IR procedure? Will I be able to drive?

Some minor procedures like thyroid, breast or other superficial biopsies are done as out-patient. You may leave a few minutes after the procedure. Other out patient procedures may include: paracentesis, thoracentesis and cysts aspirations among others.

It’s important to note that we do not advice you to drive after your procedure. Please be sure to arrange for someone else to accompany you to your procedure and take you home. Or take a public transportation.

Most interventional radiology procedures involving arteries and veins require a minimum recovery of six hours. For other interventional radiology procedures, you may need to stay one night in the hospital before being discharged. Your care team will inform you of your expected recovery time prior to your appointment.

When will I get my pathology reports?

If you had a biopsy or other diagnostic interventional radiology procedure, your care team can discuss any imaging results. Histopathologic results are generally available after one week. [ :(sadly, this is beyond our control ]. Bacteriologic studies results availability are greatly variable.  Your care team will inform you of when to expect the results and will provide a number where you can follow-up.

Will there be pain after the procedure?

It is a lie when someone says totally painless. There would be some degree of pain but most of our patients says it is very minimal and hardly noticeable. There are patients who would complain of moderate pain but these are the low pain tolerance patients. Besides, you can always take over the counter pain relievers.

What is the difference between and

First, we own and manage both.

It has the exact same content.

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Other than the name, nothing is different.

I have more questions?

You may call +63 32 2558000 local 76149 or +63 969 181 5936 (calls and office hours only with NO SMS) 

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