Interventional radiology is a medical specialisation that involves performing a range of imaging procedures to obtain images of the inside of the body. The interventional radiologist carefully interprets these images to diagnose injury and disease, and to perform a range of interventional medical procedures.
Interventional radiologists use imaging techniques such as X-rays, MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) scans, fluoroscopy (an X-ray procedure that makes it possible to see internal organs in motion), CT (computed tomography) scans and ultrasounds.
Interventional radiologists perform a broad range of procedures such as treating tumours, taking organ biopsies or placing stents by inserting tiny instruments and thin plastic tubes (catheters) into the body via an artery or vein. The images are used to guide the catheters and instruments to the exact area where the procedure or treatment is to be performed. This reduces the need for traditional (open) or keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery as treatment can be given via a small plastic tube about the size of a straw.