Interventional Radiology (IR)

Also known as: IR, image-guided procedures

What is Interventional Radiology?

Interventional radiology (IR) is when doctors use pictures or images known as “image-guided procedures” to help guide to the body part on the inside that needs to be treated or tested.

These procedures are usually done with tiny instruments, such as small needles, catheters or tubes to reach the internal areas needing the treatment or testing.

Doctors may use X-rays, CT scans, and ultrasounds to guide the medical instruments throughout the body to the area in need of testing. The IR doctor will decide which type of imaging machine is best to use for your child’s procedure or treatment.

IR treatments and procedures provide fewer risks, less pain, and quicker recovery time compared to open surgeries.

Interventional Radiology Procedures


Diagnostic Neurointerventional Radiology Procedures


What to Expect During the Procedure

Step 1: Getting Ready

  • From the radiology waiting room, you and your child will be brought to an exam room the “get ready room” where you will be seen by a nurse who will take the child’s vital signs and ask general questions about his/her health. Please state any known allergies, medical history and current medications at this time.
  • Please feel free to bring your child’s favorite toy or activity to provide distraction while in the “get ready room”.
  • In this room, you will meet the IR doctor who will go over the plan for your child’s procedure.
  • Next, your child will need to have “pictures” taken with the scanner. The doctor checks and confirms the area needing testing or treatment.

  Step 2: Preparation

  • Once the doctor checks the scan to approve the need for the procedure is still there, the IR team will begin to set up for the procedure.
  • IR procedures are considered “sterile” meaning they must take place in an environment that is very clean and free of as many germs as possible.
  • Caregivers may wait in the radiology waiting room and will be notified once the procedure is complete. 

Step 3: The Image-Guided Procedure

  • The doctor will then begin cleaning the area that needs to be tested with a wet sponge made of hospital soap.
  • After cleaning, the doctor and radiology technologist will take pictures or scan the area to help find the part of the body that needs to be examined.
  • Once the doctor has found the starting point, he/she will place a numbing medication called “Lidocaine” on the skin near the area.​
    • Lidocaine is a temporary, pain relieving medication that puts the area being numbed to “sleep”. Once numbed, the patient will only feel pressure on the area being examined during the procedure.
    • If the procedure is to examine a tube placement on or for your child’s body then lidocaine gel will be used.
    • If the procedure is to see the inside of your child’s body, then the numbing medication “lidocaine” is given through a tiny injection into the skin.
  • The day of the procedure, ask the IR doctor if there are any additional numbing medications available to be used prior to receiving the lidocaine injection.
    • When given through an injection: lidocaine tends to feel like a rush of a warm, tingly sensation directly to the area being numbed. This sensation only lasts for a few seconds before it is completely numbed. Afterwards, your child should only feel pressure when the doctor is examining the area.
    • Lidocaine Tips: Previous patients have said that squeezing onto a stress ball or taking slow, deep breaths in and out have helped with reducing stress and pain during the lidocaine injection.
  • Once the area is numbed, the doctor will begin the procedure. 

This page was last updated on: March 18, 2021 01:19 PM

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