Key Points about Interventional Radiology
- Generally, interventional procedures involve less risk, pain, recovery time and expense and are an alternative to surgery.
- Examples of treatments administered in Interventional radiology include angioplasty, stenting, thrombolysis, embolization, kyphoplasty/vertebroplasty, ablations and biopsies.
About interventional radiology
Interventional radiology is the use of imaging to highlight a specific part of the body for diagnosis and treatment. The procedures are minimally invasive and are an alternative to surgery; generally, interventional procedures involve less risk, pain, recovery time and expense.
Interventional radiology uses X-rays, MRI and other imaging techniques to guide small instruments, like catheters, through blood vessels and organs to treat a variety of diseases. Examples of treatments administered in Interventional radiology include angioplasty, stenting, thrombolysis, embolization, kyphoplasty/vertebroplasty, ablations and biopsies.
Preparing for interventional radiology
You will be called before your exam by a registered nurse. The nurse will give you information about your specific exam, ask questions about your health and give you instructions. You should inform your physician of any medications you are taking and if you have any allergies, especially to contrast material. Depending on the severity of a contrast allergy, medication can be administered to mitigate a reaction. Also, inform your physician about recent illnesses or other medical conditions. If you are taking any blood thinners, inform the nurse at that time.
If you are going to be given a sedative during the procedure, you may be asked not to eat or drink anything for four to six hours before your exam. If you are sedated, you should not drive for 24 hours after having your exam and should arrange for someone to drive you home.
Women should always inform their physician or X-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant or if they are nursing.
Expectations during an interventional radiology exam
You will be prepared for the exam in a “pre-op” area. The preparations may include getting an IV, having the nurse take your blood pressure and getting lab work. You will be asked to remove your clothes and wear a gown during the exam. You will be asked to remove jewelry, eyeglasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the X-ray images. You’ll be asked to come in two hours before your appointment to make sure all your work-up testing is acceptable.
After the procedure, you’ll be taken back to a “post-op” area to be observed. After a time when the nurse assesses you and determines you’re recovered to go, you will be discharged.
Length of interventional radiology exam
The exam time is in addition to the time spent in the pre-op and post-op areas. The time to perform an interventional radiology exam depends on the type of exam and your condition. The nurse who does your initial phone call will be able to give you an estimate of the time needed.