Interventional radiology is a rapidly developing subspecialty of radiology. It ensures the diagnosis (via a sample) or the guidance of minimally invasive therapeutic interventions. It allows to act on an internal lesion without direct visual contact with the treated area.
This medical field represents an alternative or can be complementary to a surgical act. The absence of general anesthesia, the evolution of guidance techniques and its relative ease of implementation make it a first-rate choice for patient treatment.
A specific organization for this activity is planned: consultations before and after the procedures, dedicated time slots or equipment, collaboration with the anesthetists, joint medical-radiological-surgical consultation meetings.
Interventional radiology procedures are generally performed using a scanner or fluoroscopy, which measure the absorption of X-rays by the tissues. MRI, magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound are also tools used by the radiologist. This imaging equipment guides the specialist to the area to be treated, whether by catheterization or by endovascular, endocanal or through the membrane of an organ.
In addition to the techniques of vessel unblocking (angioplasties, stents), whose effectiveness is well known, advances in the treatment of tumors deserve to be highlighted, whether they are benign (uterine myomas, prostate) or malignant (liver tumors, metastases). Several techniques have been developed in this field. Thermoablation is a technique of applying heat at the end of a needle to destroy the tumor by radiofrequency or microwave. Embolization, on the other hand, asphyxiates tumors by plugging the arteries with advanced materials (coils, micro-particles loaded or not with chemotherapy agents). It is also used to stop or prevent internal bleeding in cases of traumatic hemorrhage or hemorrhage that may occur following childbirth, while maintaining the viability of the affected organ.
Interventional radiology of the musculoskeletal system is primarily concerned with pain management and represents a safe and minimally invasive alternative to surgery. It is usually performed under the control of an ultrasound scanner, a CT scanner or by X-ray during a short intervention, most often on an outpatient basis. A percutaneous sampling called biopsy can, for example, also be performed in addition to a treatment of an intraosseous lesion.
Most of the time, the procedure is performed under local anesthesia, but it can also be performed under general anesthesia, depending on the indications and the patient's condition. Complications related to this type of procedure are rare and mostly local (hematoma, pain at the puncture site).