Someone recently asked me for a simple quote to describe what is so exciting about Interventional Radiology. I found, after 15 minutes of talking, that a single quote did not fully encapsulate the breadth and depth of this remarkable field. As an interventional radiologist, I use imaging to repair, heal, treat and even cure patients of their various ailments.
Interventional Radiology touches on most medical fields. We place surgical ports to enable patient to undergo chemotherapy conveniently. We fix broken bones by injecting a small amount of what we colloquially call "cement," or methylmethacrylate. We place tiny metal coils in veins to eliminate varicoceles in men or enlarged pelvic veins, the cause of pelvic congestion syndrome, in women. We send tiny particles, sometimes laden with chemotherapy and sometimes laden with radioactive particles, into liver arteries to kill metastatic and primary cancers. We place needles into small cancers growing in, for example, kidneys, the liver or bones and freeze them so that the cancer dies. We send small particles into uterine arteries to shrink fibroids.
These are just some examples of the many ways an interventional radiologist makes a difference in the lives of his or her patients.
And we do these things using imaging to guide us and without making large incisions. Rarely is general anesthesia needed, with its associated inherent risks, and an overnight hospital stay is almost never necessary.
So in summary, Interventional Radiology is a patient-centered, technology-driven field where elegant healing occurs through the use of imaging-guided minimally-invasive treatments.