Most people who care for patients realize that an interventional radiologist (IR) is an excellent resource to assist primary and specialty physicians with the appropriateness of radiology procedures and non-invasive tests.
Well-positioned in the center of the care and imaging paradigm, IRs see imaging studies as potential precursors to interventional treatments. We constantly assess the imaging studies we interpret for potential ways to help people.
For instance, a person with a diagnosis of colon cancer develops pain, undergoes a CT scan, and is found to have liver masses in the liver. A treatment exists called Y-90 radioembolization (aka Selective Internal Radiation Therapy) that may be appropriate and can be performed with concurrent chemotherapy.
A mass is diagnosed and the primary doctor wants to know whether a biopsy can be safely performed. An interventional radiologist answers that question.
A patient with high blood pressure is diagnosed with a stenosis (narrowing) of the renal artery, a known potential cause of high blood pressure. An interventional radiologist can discuss the nuances of renal artery stenosis, and may suggest additional studies, such as a Captopril renogram, to investigate the findings and determine whether the anatomic abnormality is truly the cause of the high blood pressure. If so, the artery can be stented.
There are many additional examples that can be discussed but the bottom line is to be aware of where interventional radiology fits into patient care - and it is usually much more central and much earlier than you might realize.