Interventional radiologists with equipment

Interventional radiology (IR) takes an innovative approach to treating and diagnosing a range of conditions — from cancer to uterine fibroids to knee arthritis.

Minimally invasive IR techniques, which typically require only a small incision, mean faster recoveries, fewer side effects and less pain than other treatments.

Interventional radiology offers additional options when traditional treatments are not the right fit.

At University of Maryland Medical Center, our interventional radiology team works with physicians from many specialties to create tailor plans specifically to your needs and health concerns.

Find Interventional Radiology Treatments for:

What Is Interventional Radiology?

In IR procedures, doctors insert a flexible tube called a catheter through a small incision, usually in the leg or abdomen, to create a pathway to the affected area. Imaging technologies like CT, MRI, fluoroscopy or ultrasound guide the doctor in placing the catheter at the exact location.

Through the catheter, our specialist can insert cameras, wire-like surgical tools, needles, electrodes, stents, tiny coils, balloons or even microbeads containing medicine in order to:

  • Perform surgery or biopsies
  • Cut off the blood supply to shrink a tumor or seal vascular abnormalities, such as aneurysms or varicose veins
  • Unblock arteries
  • Deliver anesthesia or pain medication
  • Deliver chemotherapy or radiation to cancer cells
  • Apply targeted heat, extreme cold or electricity as a treatment

Benefits of Interventional Radiology

  • Less pain, faster recovery time - IR procedures only use small incisions, so there is no need for stitches or staples, reducing the likelihood of post-procedure pain and complications. People can usually return to their daily activities faster than if they had an open procedure.
  • Accuracy - Because imaging guides each procedure, our specialists are able to easily pinpoint the location of the abnormality. Then they can take a highly targeted approach to treatment, reducing the chance of damage to nearby tissues.
  • Reduced risk - When compared to open surgeries, IR procedures have a lower risk of infection and other complications. Also, they use only local anesthesia or sedation, rather than general anesthesia.
  • More likely to be same-day procedures - The IR procedures are typically performed on an outpatient basis, allowing patients to return home on the same day.
  • Lower cost - Since IR procedures are typically outpatient they can cost significantly less than other treatments that involve inpatient stays.


Physicians looking to refer patients can contact the University Physicians Consultation and Referral Service at 1-800-373-4111.