Imaging Sciences Nuclear Medicine

What is Interventional Radiology?

A Patient Receives a MRI Scan While a Radiologist and Nurse Look After Their Care

In the ever-evolving landscape of medical science, Interventional Radiology (IR) has emerged as a dynamic and rapidly advancing field. This specialized branch of radiology combines the power of medical imaging with minimally invasive procedures, providing patients with effective diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. Interventional radiology plays a crucial role in the management of various medical conditions, offering alternatives to traditional surgical methods, and Interventional Radiology Techs play an integral role on the Interventional Radiology team.

Interventional Radiology Procedures

Interventional radiology is a medical specialty that employs image-guided techniques to perform minimally invasive procedures. These procedures are typically carried out using advanced imaging technologies, such as fluoroscopy, ultrasound, CT scans, and MRI. Unlike conventional surgery, interventional radiology procedures involve small incisions or no incisions at all, reducing the risk of complications, pain, and recovery time for patients.

Common IR procedures include:

Angiography and Angioplasty:

Angiography is a technique that visualizes blood vessels using contrast dye and X-rays, helping identify abnormalities.

Angioplasty involves the use of a balloon to widen narrowed or blocked blood vessels, often performed in cases of arterial stenosis.


This procedure involves the insertion of tiny particles or coils into blood vessels to block blood flow. It is commonly used to treat aneurysms or control bleeding.

Biopsy and Drainage:

Interventional radiologists can perform biopsies to obtain tissue samples for diagnostic purposes using imaging guidance.

Drainage procedures involve the placement of catheters to drain fluids, such as abscesses or cysts.

Tumor Ablation:

Radiofrequency ablation and cryoablation are techniques used to destroy tumors without surgical removal. These procedures are often employed in treating liver, kidney, and lung cancers.

Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty:,

These procedures are designed to treat vertebral compression fractures by injecting bone cement into the affected vertebrae.

Where Do Interventional Radiology Technologists Work?

Interventional Radiology Technologists, also known as IR techs, can work in a variety of facilities, including:

Hospitals - Many interventional radiology technologists are employed in hospitals, working closely with interventional radiologists in dedicated interventional radiology suites. Hospitals are often equipped with advanced imaging technology and provide a wide range of interventional services.

Outpatient Clinics - Interventional radiology techs can be found in outpatient clinics or ambulatory care centers. In these settings, they assist in performing less complex procedures that do not require hospitalization, contributing to the convenience and accessibility of interventional services.

Imaging Centers - Some interventional radiology technologists work in standalone imaging centers that focus on diagnostic and interventional procedures. These centers may serve both inpatient and outpatient populations, providing a range of imaging services beyond traditional radiography.

Specialized Interventional Radiology Facilities - Dedicated interventional radiology facilities or departments within larger medical facilities may employ specialized interventional radiology techs. These facilities focus exclusively on minimally invasive procedures and may handle a high volume of cases.

Teaching Hospitals and Academic Institutions - Interventional radiology technologists may work in teaching hospitals or academic institutions where they play a role in educating and training students pursuing careers in radiologic technology. Their expertise contributes to the development of future healthcare professionals.

Private Practices - In some cases, interventional radiology techs may find employment in private practices, collaborating with interventional radiologists and other healthcare professionals. This setting allows for more direct interaction with patients and a diverse range of procedures.

The specific work environment for an interventional radiology technologist can vary based on the type of facility, geographic location, and the scope of services provided. Whether in a hospital, clinic, or private practice, these technologists play a crucial role in delivering high-quality patient care through their expertise in imaging and interventional procedures.

Careers in Interventional Radiology

Interventional radiology has revolutionized the way medical conditions are diagnosed and treated. By combining cutting-edge imaging technologies with minimally invasive techniques, interventional radiologists offer patients a safer and more efficient alternative to traditional surgery. Interventional radiology techs play an important role on an interventional radiology team

If you are interested in a career in interventional radiology, AdventHealth University’s Associate of Science in Radiography program is a great entry point for a career as an Interventional Radiology Tech or a foundation for building a career as an Interventional Radiologist.

Recommended Readings

Benefits of Interventional Radiology

Nine Key Figures in Radiology

How to Become A Radiology Director


Radiologic and MRI Technologists." Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor

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