Interventional radiology (IR), sometimes known as vascular and interventional radiology (VIR), is a medical specialty which provides minimally invasive image-guided diagnosis and treatment of disease.
Although the range of procedures performed by interventional radiologists is broad, the unifying concept behind these procedures is the application of image guidance and minimally invasive techniques in order to minimize risk to the patient.
Interventional radiologists commonly perform both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, although diagnostic angiography is becoming less common as the quality and reliability of CT and MRI angiography has allowed for alternative forms of non invasive evaluation.
Interventional Radiology (IR) originated within diagnostic radiology as an invasive diagnostic subspecialty. IR is now a therapeutic and diagnostic specialty that comprises a wide range of minimally invasive image-guided therapeutic procedures as well as invasive diagnostic imaging.
The range of diseases and organs amenable to image-guided therapeutic and diagnostic procedures are extensive and constantly evolving, and include, but are not limited to, diseases and elements of the vascular, gastrointestinal, hepatobiliary, genitourinary, pulmonary, musculoskeletal, and, the central nervous system.
As part of IR practice, IR physicians provide patient evaluation and management relevant to image-guided interventions in collaboration with other physicians or independently. IR procedures have become an integral part of medical care.
Many minimally invasive image-guided procedures performed by IR have supplanted major surgical procedures by either IR physicians educating other medical fields or IR physicians taking on a clinical role.