Interventional Radiology

Frequently Asked Questions

What is interventional radiology?

Interventional radiology is a medical subspecialty that utilizes common imaging techniques, such as ultrasound, CT and X-rays to guide diagnostic and therapeutic tools to an area of disease within the body. Because procedures are performed through very small incisions, risks are minimized, recovery time is shortened, and hospitalizations are seldom required.

How does an interventional radiologist differ from a diagnostic radiologist?

Accredited interventional radiologists have completed subspecialty training in performing interventions beyond those required of a diagnostic radiologist. While interventional radiology is a relatively new medical subspecialty, interventional radiologists are credited with having pioneered cardiac catheterization, angioplasty and stent deployment to open occluded arteries.

What is the difference between interventional radiology procedures and conventional surgery?

Usually interventional radiology procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. The interventional radiologist uses imaging techniques through a tiny incision; these procedures achieve similar or improved outcomes with shorter recovery times and lower complication rates.

What are the risks associated with interventional radiology procedures?

Risks exist with any medical procedure and are often unique to the organ. But with interventional radiology, the risks of infection and significant bleeding are minimized because the incision is so small and because medical imaging helps guide the interventional radiologist during the procedure. Most interventional radiology procedures do not require general anesthesia, so patients are up and around more quickly and in less pain.

What is interventional oncology?

It’s a component of interventional radiology and the fourth pillar of comprehensive cancer care — the other three being medical oncology, surgical oncology and radiation oncology. Interventional oncologic techniques provide targeted therapies to diseased organs. Examples of interventional oncology tools include ablation (destroying solid tumors with localized extreme heat or cold), chemoembolization (precise delivery of chemotherapy to the liver) and radioembolization (precise delivery of radiation therapy to the liver).

What are some interventional radiology alternatives to common surgical procedures?

The left column of this chart shows some conditions and the interventional radiology alternatives (middle column) to the traditional surgical procedures (right column).

To treat…

Interventional Radiology Procedure Traditional Surgical Procedure
Uterine fibroids Uterine fibroid embolization Hysterectomy or myomectomy
Peripheral arterial disease Angioplasty, atherectomy, stent placement Open surgical bypass
Varicose veins Thermal vein ablation, sclerotherapy Surgical ligation and stripping
Varicoceles Varicocele embolization Surgical ligation
Cancer Ablation or embolization Surgical resection
Diagnostic tissue sampling Ultrasound or CT-guided biopsy Open surgical biopsy

Additionally, interventional radiology allows the collection of diagnostic tissue samples through ultrasound or CT-guided biopsy. The traditional surgical technique would require an open surgical biopsy.

How can I make an appointment with an interventional radiologist?

Contact the Interventional Department at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital by calling (331) 221-0560. Alternatively, your physician may request a referral by submitting a facsimile to (331) 221-3826.

Where is the interventional radiology department?

We are located at the Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare Center for Health/William and Carol Parrillo Building, 1200 S. York Street, Elmhurst. To contact the center please call (331) 221-6000 or click the link below to get directions.

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