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Interventional Radiology

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Interventional Radiology

Exam performed at Northwest Hospital

Interventional radiologists (IRs) use their expertise in reading X-rays, ultrasound and other medical images to guide small instruments such as catheters (tubes that measure just a few millimeters in diameter) through the blood vessels or other pathways to treat disease percutaneously (through the skin).

These procedures are typically much less invasive and much less costly than traditional surgery.

Common Uses of Interventional Radiology


An X-ray exam of the arteries and veins to diagnose blockages and other blood vessel problems.

Balloon Angioplasty

Opens blocked or narrowed blood vessels by inserting a very small balloon into the vessel and inflating it.

Biliary Drainage and Stenting

A stent to open up blocked ducts and allow bile to drain from the liver.

Central Venous Access

Insertion of a tube to allow patients to receive medication or nutrients directly into the blood stream or so blood can be drawn.


Delivery of cancer-fighting agents directly to the site of a tumor.


Delivery of clotting agents directly to an area that is bleeding or to block blood flow to an aneurysm or a fibroid tumor in the uterus.

Fallopian Tube Catheterization

A treatment for infertility – uses a catheter to open blocked fallopian tubes without surgery.

Gastrostomy Tube

Feeding tube inserted into the stomach for patients who are unable to take sufficient food by mouth.

Hemodialysis Access Maintenance

Use of angioplasty or thrombolysis to open blocked grafts for hemodialysis.

Needle Biopsy

Diagnostic test for breast, lung and other cancers; an alternative to surgical biopsy.

Radio frequency (RF) Ablation

Use of radio frequency energy to cook and kill cancerous tumors.


A small flexible tube used to treat a variety of medical conditions.


Reinforces a ruptured or ballooning section of an artery (an aneurysm) with a fabric-wrapped stent


Dissolves blood clots by injecting clot-busting drugs at the site of the clot.

TIPS (transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt)

A procedure to improve blood flow and prevent hemorrhage.

Uterine Artery Embolization

A procedure of uterine arteries to stop life- threatening postpartum bleeding, potentially preventing hysterectomy. The same procedure is used to treat fibroid tumors.

Uterine Fibroid Embolization

A procedure of uterine arteries to shrink painful, enlarged, benign tumors in the uterus.

For more information please visit the Society of Interventional Radiology.

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