What is Interventional Radiology?

When most people hear the phrase 'interventional radiology', it can catch them by surprise. Some aren't aware that there are multiple branches to the specialty.

what is interventional radiology

At LAIIC, we have been proudly helping patients across Southern California for almost 20 years. Our expert doctors and healthcare workers provide professional interventional radiology and diagnostic radiology services to treat our patients.

What is Interventional Radiology?

Interventional radiology is a medical practice that uses minimally invasive procedures as safer alternatives to larger operations such as open or laparoscopic surgery options. Most interventional radiology procedures are quicker than traditional surgical methods and can lead to better outcomes for patients.

Most interventional radiology methods use live imaging including:

  • X-rays
  • Ultrasounds
  • Computed Tomography (CT) scans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • and more!

These provides real-time information and feedback to the radiologists during the procedure, so they can make any quick and necessary changes. Often, the procedures are referred to as ‘pinhole’ surgeries because they involve using a small needle that penetrates the skin to get to the target area of the body.

Interventional radiology encompasses medicine and surgery to focus on treating patients with minimally invasive methods and interventions [1]. It’s a speciality that works closely with several other medical fields, including vascular and oncology. This is important, as it helps to deliver a holistic approach to treating patients with multidisciplinary teams of healthcare experts [2].

Why Would I Need an Interventional Radiologist?

Although they are minimally invasive, interventional radiology procedures are often life-saving or in the least, life-changing. There are several acute health conditions and chronic diseases that can be alleviated using interventional radiology.

These interventional radiology procedures are performed using small plastic tubes that are about the size of a thin straw called catheters, and additional instruments such as tiny wires that help to guide the radiologist to the right place in the body. If a condition does not warrant extensive and invasive procedures like open or keyhole surgeries, interventional radiology methods are much more suitable!

Which Procedures Does an Interventional Radiologist Perform?

Interventional radiologists are experts in a variety of different procedures, including the following: Although most patients feel discomfort during these procedures, they are much less intense than other surgical options [3].

Removal of Blood Clots

Blood clots have the potential to cause serious harm, including stroke and cardiac events. Interventional radiology can be used to remove these clots. This can also involve the drainage of organs to stop life-threatening bleeds. 

Biliary Drainage

Interventional radiology can be used to unblock the bile duct by inserting a small tube through the skin. This reduces the chances of infection and improves liver function.

Organ Biopsies

Organ biopsies involve taking a small sample of organ tissue from the body so that it can be analyzed in a lab to assess for cancer or other pathology.

Thyroid Fine Needle Aspiration

If there is a lump on the thyroid, this procedure can be used to take a small sample of the thyroid tissue. This biopsy can then be tested to determine the cause of the lump. 

Angioplasty and Stent Insertion

Interventional radiology can perform angiograms that are used to open up narrowed arteries or veins. This is done by inserting a balloon or stent into the blood vessels to keep them open. It can be used to treat occluded vessels and conditions associated with poor blood flow, such as diabetic foot ulcers.

Another example includes carotid stenting to open up the main artery that carries blood to the  the brain. If the carotid artery is blocked, it increases the risk of stroke.


Ablation treatments are used to remove diseased tissue. It includes treating cancerous tissues (tumor ablation) and varicose vein ablation, the latter of which is used to treat varicose veins or chronic venous insufficiency.

Treatment can include laser ablation (using laser energy or heat), microwave ablation (using microwaves and heat) or sclerotherapy (using chemicals near to the site of the veins). 


Interventional radiology can be used to drain a blocked ureter to allow urine to flow through it properly. This procedure also reduces the risks of kidney infections or urinary tract infections. 

We offer these plug many more interventional radiology procedures as listed on our website.   

Why Use LAIIC’s Interventional Radiology Team?

The friendly team here at LAIIC comprises expert physicians, physician assistants, nurses, administrative staff and technologists. Together, we work hard to provide the best care we can to every patient that walks through our doors. 

We offer a huge variety of treatments and procedures, including many of those listed above. We pride ourselves on being industry leaders in the field. Our team are highly skilled experts in diagnostic imaging and interventional radiology and have years of knowledge behind them.

The core values that we take here at LAIIC are very important to us. We provide compassionate care to every patient we treat.

Additionally, we are continually looking for ways to improve upon our current knowledge and always strive to enhance research and investments in future exciting technology. Since 2004, we have provided the best possible care we can to establish a trusting relationship with our patients.

Our team has expanded since 2004 into an amazing team of certified physicians who are experts in all aspects of radiology. Many of them have subspecialty training in additional areas of medicine including vascular and neurology. 

laiic radiology team

Our modern facilities are located in Southern California to make LAIIC accessible to as many people as possible. We believe that everybody deserves to be able to obtain treatment for their health conditions. LAIIC locations are equipped with the latest technology to ensure all of the care we give is of the highest standard.

We would love to hear from anybody who feels that their health condition could be treated using one of our interventional radiology procedures. Get in touch today to speak to one of our friendly team members who can give expert advice and guide anybody through the process of using our services. 



[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31151847/

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21447227/

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19251387/