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Interventional radiology is a subdivision of radiology. Interventional radiologists (IRs) are first trained to diagnose diseases using imaging methods such as ultrasound, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and angiography, which show the organs inside our body. Then, they have an additional training on interventional radiology for at least 2 years. During this treaning, IRs learn how to treat various diseases placing some needles through 1-2mm skin holes under the guidance of these imaging methods (image-guided therapy). These interventions typically do not require general or spinal anesthesia, any skin incision with stitches and long hospitalization times. Their risks are much lower than those of alternative surgical operations. Owing to these advantages, interventional radiology is also referred to as "the surgery of the 21st century".
One of the most commonly employed treatments in interventional radiology is the endovascular therapy (treatment of diseases via the vessels). This method is currently used extensively for the treatment of obstruction and aneurysm (ballooning) of the arteries and veins and venous insufficiency leading to varicose veins in the leg. Endovascular therapy is also commonly used in the treatment of benign and malignant tumors by injecting chemotherapy drugs into the feeding arteries or occluding these arteries with small particles (embolization). Embolization of uterine fibroids is one of the most frequently performed endovascular therapies in all over the world.
Interventional radiology is a relatively new specialty with a history of only 3-4 decades. As the developments in radiologic imaging and medicine continue, it will be possible to treat more and more diseases using interventional radiological methods.