What Is an Interventional Radiologist?

Interventional radiologists are medical professionals who specialize in performing certain procedures to diagnose and to treat a variety of illnesses in an image-guided setting using catheters and injections and usually performing the procedures through very small incisions or holes. Here are some things that you should know about interventional radiologists.

What Is, in Fact, Interventional Radiology?

Interventional radiology is a branch of medical science that uses imaging technologies, including X-rays, CT scans and MRI to diagnose and to treat a variety of illnesses. The procedures performed by interventional radiologists require special equipment, therefore they are performed in hospitals that have an X-ray department.

The Training of Interventional Radiologists

The education of interventional radiologists follows the same path as the education of any highly trained medical specialist. Those who want to become interventional radiologists need to complete general medical training first, followed by a specialization in X-ray technology and further specialization in the technologies used in interventional radiology. These medical specialists also complete a residency program during which they learn to perform a wide variety of interventions. At the end of their training and after having completed the residency program, interventional radiologists need to take a complicated board exam to obtain a license and to be able to practice.

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The Interventions Performed by Interventional Radiologists

The range of the illnesses that can be successfully treated with the help of the procedures performed by an interventional radiologist near me is continually expanding. Here are some of the most common interventions:

  • Uterine fibroid embolization – the procedure involves the insertion of a catheter in the artery that provides the blood supply for the uterine fibroids and the administration of tiny particles through an injection with the purpose of cutting off that blood supply for the duration of the intervention. Uterine fibroids rely heavily on the blood supply they receive from the artery that leads to the uterus – If that blood supply is cut off even for a short time, the fibroid starts shrinking and dying;
  • treatment for enlarged prostates – prostate enlargement is another very common condition that can be successfully treated through embolization. The method is essentially the same as in the case of uterine fibroids and the expected results are also the subsequent shrinkage of the prostate;
  • treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome – carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common condition of the hands that is caused by damage sustained by the nerves leading to the hands. Interventional radiologists can efficiently treat carpal tunnel syndrome by injecting small quantities of corticosteroids directly into the affected nerve to reduce the inflammation and the other symptoms caused by the condition;
  • carotid stenting – another very common condition that can be successfully treated by interventional radiologists is the partial blockage of the carotid artery – the large blood vessel that carries blood to the brain. The procedure involves the placement of a thin wire device into the artery in order to remove the blockage as quickly and as easily as possible, usually without having to sedate the patient.