Interventional radiology (IR) is a highly advanced and rapidly growing medical specialty. Specially trained physicians – interventional radiologists – use X-rays and other imaging devices to guide thin tubes (catheters) and other tiny instruments through the body to treat diseases without surgery. Among its many uses, interventional radiology special procedures can be used to:
- Reduce or eliminate the pain of spinal fractures caused by osteoporosis
- Destroy fibroid tumors in the uterus
- Pinpoint the exact location and cause of blocked arteries
- Open kidney blockages
- Treat abdominal aortic aneurysms
Benefits of Radiology
Typically with interventional radiology, patients can be treated on an outpatient basis or may only require short hospital stays. This means patients face less risk and often have less pain and shorter recovery times than with surgery.
How It Works
With the aid of imaging techniques such as ultrasound or fluoroscopy (rapid sequence X-rays) to see inside the body, the interventional radiologist delicately guides tiny catheters with fine instruments attached through the skin and to the site of the problem and then fixes it. Stitches generally are not needed, and general anesthesia is usually not required.
IR procedures are usually performed while the patient lies on his or her back. These procedures can be lengthy at times depending on exactly what the patient is having done. Due to the specialized techniques used during this imaging process, some discomfort may be felt during the IR procedure as well as during recovery. The medical team always strives to make the patient as comfortable as possible and medications are often used to reduce any discomfort. The physician will discuss all preparations you need to follow before the procedure.
A patient who plans to utilize an IR service should
- Be NPO (no food or drink by mouth) for six hours prior to the exam
- Arrange for someone to drive you to your exam
- Plan to spend the night after the exam
Interventional radiology is provided at:
Boulder Community Hospital, North Broadway and Balsam, Boulder.
To schedule an appointment at Boulder Community Hospital, call 303-440-2170 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
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