Interventional FAQs

At Progressive Physician Associates, we believe that being an informed patient helps equip you for your own essential role in the healing process and in maintaining a lifestyle that will enhance your long-term vascular wellness.

This page addresses concerns that patients most frequently express about the interventional radiology services. As always, you are welcome to contact Progressive Physician Associates with any additional questions or concerns about our interventional radiology services.

What is interventional radiology?

Interventional radiology is a category of minimally invasive surgical methods that use medical imaging modalities, such as X-ray, MRI, or ultrasound, to enable surgeons to use tiny instruments to reach and operate on precise locations inside the body. Image-guided procedures are used to diagnose or treat many different types of illnesses and injuries, in virtually every area of the body. Compared to conventional surgical techniques, interventional radiology procedures use much smaller incisions, creating such advantages as reduced risk of infection and other complications. Many interventional radiology procedures can be performed in an outpatient setting, and for those that do require a hospital stay the length of hospitalization is usually shorter.

Who is an interventional radiologist?

Interventional radiologists are physicians who have earned a medical degree from an accredited allopathic (M.D.) or osteopathic (D.O.) medical school in the U.S. or abroad, followed by postgraduate training and clinical and surgical rotations (residency and fellowship) in diagnostic radiology and minimally invasive surgical techniques. They must also be licensed to practice medicine and surgery in any states in which they work.

Why do I need an interventional radiology procedure?

Your doctor may order an interventional radiology procedure for a variety of purposes, such as performing a biopsy to extract a small sample of suspicious tissue to determine if it is cancerous, for a minimally invasive treatment for certain types of cancer, or to diagnose or treat an injury or disorder in a particular part of the body. Interventional radiologists sometimes also perform procedures to remove small foreign objects embedded in soft tissue as a result of an accident or injury.

How did my doctor decide what type of procedure I need?

Selection of the best surgical technique for a particular diagnostic or treatment need depends on a variety of factors, such as the nature or location of the disorder or injury, your age and overall health, or your ability to tolerate contrast agents that are used in some interventional radiology procedures. The interventional radiology specialists of Progressive Physician Associates have expertise on the most advanced techniques available, and can consult with your physician to evaluate even the most complex medical situations and identify an effective approach.

What should I do to prepare for my procedure?

Prior to your appointment, you will be given specific instructions on necessary preparations. You may be asked to fast for a specific period of time prior to your surgery, and instructed as to whether you will need someone else to transport you home after your release. Additional preparations may also be necessary. For example, you may need to temporarily stop taking certain medications that you use regularly. Lab tests before your procedure may also be required. It is very important to make sure you have informed your referring physician and your interventional radiology surgeon about all medications you take and about your smoking history and any chronic medical conditions or allergies you may have. You will be asked questions about these and other topics before your procedure is scheduled. It is important to answer them completely and accurately.

Are interventional radiology procedures safe?

Since interventional radiology procedures are less invasive and require shorter recovery times and hospital stays (if any), the risk of complications is usually lower compared to equivalent conventional surgery procedures. Some minimally invasive surgeries, such as X-ray guided procedures, use low doses of ionizing radiation, but others use imaging modalities that involve no radiation, such as ultrasound or MRI.