Interventional Radiology: What to Expect

HealthcareDecember 04, 2013

Interventional radiology is a specialty that is used to diagnose and treat patients by means of minimally invasive methods. Radiologists in this field are pioneers in developing new technologies to aid them in this particular field of study. These individuals are recognized for their various advancements and inventions, including angioplasty and the catheter-delivered stint.

Interventional Procedures

There are many types of procedures performed by a radiologist, including the following:

  • Angiography: This is an X-ray examination of the arteries and veins, which helps radiologists to identify blockages and other blood vessel problems.
  • Angioplasty: A small balloon is inserted into a blocked vein anywhere in the body, which allows for proper blood flow.
  • Stent: This is similar to an angioplasty, but it uses a small tube.
  • Varicose vein treatment: A non-surgical procedure which uses a laser or radio frequencies to seal the varicose vein shut.

Neurointerventional Radiology

Neurointerventional radiology uses advanced techniques to perform non-invasive procedures on the brain. It is noted for its ability to help treat strokes, cerebral aneurysms and other life threatening conditions of the central nervous system. This field helps with blood flow and the treatment of tumors. A doctor of medicine, or M.D., is required for individuals seeking to pursue this career path.


The Society of Interventional Radiology has approved the following paths as a means to earn a degree in interventional radiology: the DIRECT (Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology Enhanced Clinical Training) path and a clinical path.

The DIRECT pathway requires a core diagnostic training that lasts 27 months, with 21 months of vascular and interventional radiology, or VIR, training. Once the requirements are met and 12 months of clinical practice have been completed, you are eligible for diagnostic radiology board certification as well as a vascular IR certificate.

The clinical path is available to those who are seeking a career that primarily focuses on VIR. A six-year program includes 29 months of diagnostic radiology training, 19 months of clinical training and 21 months of VIR training.

The Society of Interventional Radiology has recently approved a dual certification program as well. This program offers students the opportunity to earn board certification in interventional and diagnostic radiology.

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