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8110 Gatehouse Road, Falls Church, VA 22042

Interventional Radiology (IR)

Interventional Radiology (IR) is a subspecialty of radiology that features minimally invasive procedures performed with image guidance. It uses fluoroscopy, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to visually guide a physician as he or she threads a catheter or other tiny instrument into the body to diagnose or treat medical conditions.

This specialty is available at all Inova hospitals. Our experts are at the forefront of this fast-growing medical field. The number of minimally invasive alternatives to traditional surgery increases every year.

Types of IR Procedures

Interventional Radiology (IR) procedures include:

  • Angiography. This is an X-ray of the arteries and veins to find blockage or narrowing of the vessels, as well as other blood vessel problems.
  • Angioplasty. This minimally invasive procedure that uses a balloon to open a blocked or narrowed artery and improve blood flow. The doctor puts the small balloon-tipped catheter into a blood vessel. Then he or she inflates the balloon to open up an area of blockage inside the vessel.
  • Catheter insertions. For certain cancers, chemoembolization can be used to inject the tumor site.
  • Cancer treatment. The doctor gives the cancer medicine directly to the tumor site.
  • Clot dissolving. The doctor injects clot-dissolving medicines to increase blood flow to your arms, legs, or organs in your body.
  • Embolization. The doctor places medications or embolic agents through a catheter into a blood vessel to stop blood flow through that vessel. This can be done to control bleeding, close off vessels supplying blood to a tumor, and treat aneurysms.
  • Foreign body removal. The doctor puts a catheter into a blood vessel to remove a foreign body in the vessel.
  • Gastrostomy tubes. The doctor puts a feeding tube into the stomach if you can’t take food by mouth, allowing you to receive nutrition without having to swallow the food you need.
  • Intravascular ultrasound. The doctor uses ultrasound to see inside a blood vessel to find problems.
  • IVC filters. The doctor puts a small filter into the inferior vena cava (IVC). This is a large vein in your abdomen. The filter catches blood clots that may go into your lungs.
  • Needle biopsy. The doctor puts a small needle into almost any part of the body, guided by imaging techniques, to take a tissue biopsy. This type of biopsy can give a diagnosis without surgery. An example of this procedure is called the needle breast biopsy.
  • Stent placement. The doctor places a tiny mesh coil (stent) inside a blood vessel at the site of a blockage. He or she expands the stent to open up the blockage.

Before Your Procedure

Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time. (For MRI and nuclear medicine studies, please arrive 30 minutes before your appointment time.)

Bring the following information with you:

  • A signed prescription for an imaging study (unless your doctor’s office has either faxed an order or indicated they entered the order directly into Inova’s electronic medical records system)
  • Insurance card
  • Photo ID (e.g., license, passport)
  • Any previous exam films and reports performed at a non-Inova facility, including X-rays, mammograms, MRIs, CT scans and ultrasounds
  • Implant card, if applicable

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