Who Are Interventional Radiologists?

Interventional radiologists are board-certified physicians who specialize in minimally invasive, targeted treatments. They offer the most in-depth knowledge of the least invasive treatments available coupled with diagnostic and clinical experience across all specialties. They use X-rays, MRI and other imaging to advance a catheter in the body, usually in an artery, to treat at the source of the disease internally. As the inventors of angioplasty and the catheter-delivered stent, which were first used in the legs to treat peripheral arterial disease, interventional radiologists pioneered minimally invasive modern medicine.

Today many conditions that once required surgery can be treated less invasively by interventional radiologists. Interventional radiology treatments offer less risk, less pain and less recovery time compared to open surgery.

Medical Breakthroughs: Interventional radiology in the news

New PRESERVE Study Takes Shape With SIR Lead

Representatives from SIR, the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been collaborating to launch PRESERVE, a new large-scale, multispecialty prospective study to evaluate inferior vena cava (IVC) filter use and follow-up protocols to improve patient care. The effort is a direct result of an August 2010 FDA medical alert detailing the possibility that retrievable IVC filters could move or break, perhaps causing significant health risks for patients. SIR and SVS are in the process of forming a joint foundation to oversee the PREdicting the Safety and Effectiveness of InferioR VEna Cava Filters study.

With the goal of obtaining a functional view of all filters placed in the United States, the study will evaluate the overall safety and efficacy of filters placed by vascular specialists, and intends to enroll about 2,500 patients at approximately 50 centers in the United States. The specifics of the study must first be approved by FDA through an investigational device exemption (IDE) study with HIPAA compliance. The societies are also in the process of making a final decision for a contract research organization (CRO). Filter manufacturers are participating in study discussions. SIR will announce more information about the study's start as details become available.

For more information, please contact Carolyn Strain, SIR Foundation executive director, via email at cstrain@SIRweb.org or by phone at (703) 460-5567.

PRESERVE Study to Be a Comprehensive Evaluation of Inferior Vena Cava Filter Use (Endovascular Today, Oct. 11, 2012)

Society of Interventional Radiology Responds to FDA Safety Communication on Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency Treatment in Multiple Sclerosis Patients

On May 10, the Food and Drug Administration issued a medical alert noting that individuals with multiple sclerosis should be aware of the risks of serious injuries and death associated with treatments for chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency - and that benefits of those treatments and promotion as an MS treatment "may lead people with the disease to make treatment decisions without being aware of the serious risks involved."

As always, the Society of Interventional Radiology strongly urges close communications between doctor and patient. Those persons with MS are encouraged to talk to their interventional radiologists and their other doctors about any concerns or questions. SIR members - interventional radiologists who specialize in minimally invasive targeted treatments and who pioneered venous angioplasty and stenting - endovascular techniques that may be central to novel treatments for MS - may note an increase in calls from concerned individuals who have - or are seeking - treatment for CCSVI.

Society of Interventional Radiology Responds to FDA Safety Communication on Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency Treatment in Multiple Sclerosis Patients

FDA Safety Communication: Chronic Cerebrospinal enous Insufficiency Treatment in Multiple Sclerosis Patients

FDA News Release: FDA Issues Alert on Potential Dangers of Unproven Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

Society of Interventional Radiology Supports Research for New M.S. Treatments

Society of Interventional Radiology Supports Research for New M.S. Treatments: Position Statement in September Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology Outlines Society's Stance as It Actively Promotes and Expedites Needed Research, Recognizes Potential Value of Interventional Treatment Options for Vulnerable Patients (Aug. 26, 2010)

Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology Special Communications: "Interventional Endovascular Management of Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis: A Position Statement by the Society of Interventional Radiology, Endorsed by the Canadian Interventional Radiology Association"

Society of Interventional Radiology Responds to FDA Blood Clot Device (IVC Filter) Advisory

On Aug. 9, the Food and Drug Administration issued a medical alert noting that certain devices used to keep blood clots from traveling to the lungs-retrievable inferior vena cava (IVC) filters-could move or break, perhaps causing life-threatening problems for patients. SIR members-interventional radiologists who specialize in minimally invasive targeted treatments, including diagnosing indications for placing and removing IVC filters-have noted an increase in calls from concerned individuals who have IVC filters.

As always, the Society of Interventional Radiology strongly urges close communications between doctor and patient. Those individuals with IVC filters are encouraged to talk to their interventional radiologists and their other physicians about any concerns or questions. Patients with filters should always discuss with their doctors whether and when filter removal is an option. Read more.

Interventional Radiology Training

Interventional radiology is a recognized medical specialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Interventional radiologists are board-certified physicians with additional advanced training in minimally invasive, targeted treatments performed using imaging to guide them. Their board certification includes both Vascular and Interventional Radiology and Diagnostic Radiology which are administered by the American Board of Radiology.

Innovation and Patient Safety

Interventional Radiologists Are Experts in Radiation Safety

Interventional radiologists' unique blend of skills fosters innovation and enables them to quickly adapt their imaging expertise to pioneer nonsurgical treatments that are guided by imaging. They adapt a technique proven to work for one problem and apply it to another. When it comes to the best practices for safely performing minimally invasive treatments, interventional radiologists pioneered the procedures and the standards for safety and quality. Patient safety is incorporated into the development of these advances because interventional radiology and diagnostic radiology training programs include radiation safety, radiation physics, the biological effects of radiation and injury prevention.

The Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) publishes guidelines for minimally invasive treatments, including criteria for adequate training for specific interventional procedures, as well as expected success and complication rates. These evidence-based guidelines are used by the FDA, hospitals and regulatory groups.

Read more about radiation safety.

Patient Choices and Informed Consent

For many years, surgery was the only treatment available for many conditions. Today, interventional radiology treatments are first-line care for a wide variety of conditions. It is important to get a second opinion and know all of your treatment options before consenting to any procedure or surgery.

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General IR Information

Minimally Invasive Interventional Radiology Treatments