A branch of radiology itself, interventional radiology is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that involves the use of imaging techniques in order to achieve the desired results. This type of radiology also has two sides. On one part it can be used purely for diagnostic reasons and on the other, it can actually be used as part of the treatment process.
You have probably heard a lot about how kidney stones are removed from the body these days. The doctor does not need to cut you open anymore for a little stone, all he needs is a quarter inch hole through which he pushes a long, thin tube with a camera on the end and another tool with which he slowly removes the stone. This is a painless procedure, recovery is extremely fast and the total time of the operation has been reduced to about 45 minutes, if not less.
Interventional radiology has been used for the first time as an experiment back in the 1970’s. Since then it has been constantly improved to provide us with the ability to easily treat minor medical issues, like the above mentioned kidney stones. Interventional radiology has literally changed the way we can receive treatment. Even those gastric by pass surgeries can be performed using interventional radiology and many, many other minor surgical procedure can be done using this technique.
To give you a straight forward and simple example of what doctors call interventional radiology we have to imagine the ultra sound procedure performed on pregnant women to see how the baby is doing. Now, that is called diagnostic interventional radiology because it used to asses the medical condition of an individual, in this case, the fetus. You have probably seen ultra sound pictures of babies in their mother’s womb and we have interventional radiology to thank for that. Many babies have been treated after a diagnosis provided by interventional radiology.
There are a couple of tools that the doctor uses when performing any kind of interventional radiology. He needs the tube with the camera I mentioned above and a set of different types of catheters for different purposes. These tools are used in all interventional radiology procedures and none of them is wide than a couple of centimeters.
The benefits provided by this type of radiology are practically endless and will surely be improved in the future. Doctors would actually like having all the surgeries performed in this manner at one point because in many cases the recovery process takes too long and asks for too much from the body.