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What is Interventional Radiology?

Interventional Radiology (IR) is minimally invasive, image guided surgery and, until recently, was  a subspecialty of radiology.

IR is now a recognized primary medical specialty, which benefits patients by providing well-trained minimally invasive, image guided specialists.  A primary specialty is different from a subspecialty as it designates a distinct area of medicine, rather than an area of focus within an existing specialty. Most people don’t realize the differences between a diagnostic radiologist and an interventional radiologist. Diagnostic radiologists use medical images such as X-rays, fluoroscopy or continuous X-rays, ultrasound, CT scans and MRI scans to diagnose diseases anywhere in the body.

Guiding Minimally Invasive Vein Procedures

Interventional radiologists use medical images to guide and perform minimally invasive, non-surgical procedures to treat diseases anywhere in the body.  Interventional radiologists invented angiography, cardiac catheterization, angioplasty also known as balloon dilation of blood vessels, stents that prop open clogged vessels and laser treatment of varicose veins.

Interventional Radiology seeks to treat disease with the most minimally invasive techniques possible. IR physicians use images to guide tiny instruments, such as small needles,  narrow tubes or catheters, inside the body to diseased areas.  Interventional Radiology minimizes physical trauma and pain, reduces infection rates and speeds recovery time for patients.

Treating Vein Disease Using Interventional Radiology

Vein disorders aren’t always visible, which is  why a diagnostic ultrasound exam is an important tool in determining the cause and severity of vein disease. Ultrasound images are also used to formulate a custom treatment plan for every patient.  An expertly performed and interpreted diagnostic ultrasound exam is critical to guide the effective vein treatment techniques of IR. Interventional Radiologists are also trained and certified Diagnostic Radiologists so IRs are experts at performing and interpreting ultrasound exams which are so critical to vein disease treatment.

The first step in treating damaged veins is finding the source. During your initial visit, we’ll examine problem areas and, if we need to, perform a diagnostic ultrasound exam. This technology gives us an image of the diseased, refluxing veins beneath your skin’s surface.

Using ultrasound images, our vein care experts will pinpoint the exact cause of your varicose veins or spider veins and develop your treatment plan, down to each damaged vein. Because we fix your vein problem at its source, IR treatments are quicker, more effective, and far less painful than surgical techniques.