An interventional radiologist is a medical professional who specializes in performing image-guided procedures to diagnose and to treat a wide variety of diseases. Interventional radiologists are experts not only handling the special devices used for putting the diagnosis and for performing the treatment – they also have knowledge of the affection that they are treating. To become an interventional radiologist, candidates need to complete a four-year medical training, followed by another four years of training in radiology, then by another, 1-2 year fellowship to specialize in interventional radiology.
The procedures usually start with a small incision in a body area that is close to the organ to be treated, followed by the insertion of needles or catheters to reach the organ to be treated through the blood vessels and the by the treatment intervention itself.
The most common interventions performed by these specialists include angioplasty to repair damaged blood vessels, stenting to introduce tiny mesh tubes for strengthening weakened blood vessels, thrombolysis to dissolve blood clots, embolization to cut off the blood flow to various, benign and malignant tumors and procedures to release compressed nerves, such as in the treatment of patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. The procedures come with benefits: they are minimally invasive, therefore the related healing time is very short; they can be performed very quickly and they are very efficient.