Carolinas HealthCare System

Interventional Radiology

What is Interventional Radiology?

Interventional radiology is a rapidly growing area that provides minimally invasive, targeted treatments using imaging guidance. Interventional radiology services are preferred over some surgical procedures because they involve smaller incisions, less risk, less pain and shorter recovery times for patients.

Interventional radiologists use their expertise in reading X-rays, ultrasound and other medical images to guide small instruments such as catheters (tiny tubes) through the blood vessels or other pathways to treat disease. These procedures are typically much less invasive and much less costly than traditional surgery.

How do Patients Prepare for the Exam?

The exam often requires sedation. Because of this, patients should limit anything by mouth, except for medications. Patients should check with a physician about medications, especially those that require food.

Some procedures do not require sedation, but will require the injection of X-ray dye. Physicians should be consulted about medications and eating limitations.

Most procedures require a hospital gown, but comfortable clothing is recommended for all. Following the exam, patients rest in recovery rooms where family members may join them. Patients may be asked to arrive one to two hours prior to procedures for laboratory analysis.

Patients answer specific questions about their medications and symptoms and may have a short physical exam. This allows the interventional radiologist to become aware of conditions that may affect the procedure.

How is the Exam Performed?

During an interventional procedure patients may be asked to hold their breath from time to time. This insures clear images. All procedures are explained in great detail prior to the exam's start.

Some procedures require patients to lie flat for extended periods. A mild sedative can be prescribed for this.

When are Results Available?

Physicians provide exam results. The radiologist interprets the interventional procedures the day they are performed. Some cases may require comparison to other exams, resulting in a slight delay. CMC provides results directly to physicians as soon as the radiologist verifies the report accuracy.

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