Interventional radiologists are doctors trained in radiology and in minimally invasive procedures. They are experts in reading X-rays, ultrasounds, CT and other medical imaging techniques.
This expertise with imaging techniques enables them to guide small catheters (tubes) and guidewires through blood vessels or other organ pathways to treat many diseases. These small catheters are usually only a few millimetres in diameter.
Interventional radiologists have historically been the specialists’ specialist and patients did not have direct contact with them. Now, however, patients can be directly referred to an interventional radiologist; if you would like further information on direct referrals, please speak to your doctor.
For many years, surgery was the only available treatment option for a number of conditions. As a result, many primary care physicians still refer their patients to surgeons and rely on the surgeons to provide information on the range of possible treatment options.
However, surgeons tend not to be fully informed about the different minimally invasive treatments on offer, and so can only provide limited information on these procedures. It is therefore important for patients to be aware of the treatment options provided by IR.
These minimally invasive procedures carry lower risks than surgery, and have been fine-tuned to be as safe for patients as possible, with interventional radiologists maintaining high standards for safety and quality.