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What Is Interventional Radiology?

What Is Interventional Radiology?

Radiologic technologist positions patient for interventional radiology procedure

Healthcare is a fast-moving source of innovation and invention. Advances in radiologic technology allow better imaging, which informs the understanding of systems within the physical body. It also provides views of diseases, injuries, and malfunctions with a greater degree of accuracy.

The field of interventional radiology uses imaging technology for guiding a variety of treatments and procedures. With specialized training, the radiologic technologist can assist the interventional medical team in these procedures. At Northwestern College, serving Oak Lawn, IL, and the greater Chicago area, the radiologic technology program provides a great launching point for those interested in pursuing this field later in their career.

Interventional Radiology Treatments

There is no one answer to the question, what is interventional radiology? According to the Society of Interventional Radiology, treatments using interventional radiology include angioplasty, coiling, stenting, conscious sedation, ablation, and vertebroplasty. The latter is a procedure that introduces surgical cement to help stabilize bones in a damaged vertebra. In other words, interventional radiologists are using a variety of imaging technologies to guide procedures that treat problems throughout the body.

The goal of interventional radiology is to help or heal the patient without major surgery. Small tools, such as tubes and needles, are used to confine the treatments to specific areas.

Cancer treatments utilize interventional radiology. Directly attacking cancer cells with targeted chemotherapy, radioactive medicines, radio waves, and freezing technologies can help patients avoid severe side effects. The area of the body affected by carcinoma can be seen, examined, and approached via catheters, needles, wires, and other tools. Physicians can get close to cells and growths, and in real-time apply or inject treatments, all with minimal trauma to the patient.

The Interventional Radiology Medical Team

Depending on the type of illness, location in the body, and proposed treatment, the interventional radiology medical team varies in size and personnel. However, there is usually a radiologic technologist, x-ray tech, or other trained imaging assistant present during procedures.

In addition, radiologic technologists perform imaging before treatment, providing careful expertise in patient positioning and multiple imaging modalities, for results that effectively aid diagnosis. These medical professionals are skilled communicators who help patients before, during, and after imaging procedures.

Successful Careers for Radiographic Technologists

Students can begin their journey toward a career in interventional radiography by enrolling in the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Radiologic Technology at Northwestern College. While the program does not provide instruction in interventional radiography, it does train graduates with the skills needed to pursue entry-level radiographer roles. Once students become registered radiographers, they may be able to advance to interventional radiographer positions with proper on-the-job training.

Our program can be finished in about two years. Our students complete 108 credit hours of coursework in mathematics, communications, and life skills, as well as radiography skills.

Students learn about a variety of imaging equipment and its maintenance, patient care techniques, radiation biology, and medical terminology. We encourage student success through a coaching program that supports and empowers them as they begin their career journeys.

Graduates are ready to work in hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, and cancer treatment centers. Through on-the-job experience and advanced training programs, they can go on to specialize or cross-train in different treatment areas, including interventional radiology.

Discover a Career in Interventional Radiology

Located in Oak Lawn, IL, and serving the greater Chicago area, Northwestern College offers a radiographic technology program with excellent teaching from experienced faculty members. The Office of Career Development and Alumni Relations provides career services that assist students with job searches, resume development, interview guidance, and career fairs.

We believe that healthcare careers are worth pursuing and design our programs for relevancy and to support and encourage success. Are you interested in a career where you can help people and work with dedicated healthcare professionals? Request information about our associate degree in radiographic technology today and see how it can help you gain the skills you need to begin your career journey.