The modern practice of radiology involves several different healthcare professions working as a team. The radiologist is a medical doctor who has completed the appropriate post-graduate training and interprets medical images, communicates these findings to other physicians by means of a report or verbally, and uses imaging to perform minimally invasive medical procedures.Thenurseis involved in the care of patients before and after imaging or procedures, including administration of medications, monitoring of vital signs and monitoring of sedated patients.Theradiographer, also known as a “radiologic technologist” in some countries such as theUnited StatesandCanada, is a specially trained healthcare professional that uses sophisticated technology and positioning techniques to produce medical images for the radiologist to interpret. Depending on the individual’s training and country of practice, the radiographer may specialize in one of the above-mentioned imaging modalities or have expanded roles in image reporting.
Interventional radiology (IR or sometimes VIR for vascular and interventional radiology) is a subspecialty of radiology in which minimally invasive procedures are performed using image guidance. Some of these procedures are done for purely diagnostic purposes (e.g.,angiogram), while others are done for treatment purposes (e.g.,angioplasty).
The basic concept behind interventional radiology is to diagnose or treatpathologies, with the most minimally invasive technique possible. Minimally invasive procedures are currently performed more than ever before. These procedures are often performed with the patient fully awake, with little or no sedation required. Interventional radiologists and interventional radiographersdiagnose and treat several disorders, includingperipheral vascular disease,renal artery stenosis,inferior vena cavafilter placement,gastrostomytube placements,biliarystentsandhepaticinterventions. Radiographic images, fluoroscopy, and ultrasound modalities are used for guidance, and the primary instruments used during the procedure are specialized needles andcatheters. The images provide maps that allow the clinician to guide these instruments through the body to the areas containing disease. By minimizing the physical trauma to the patient, peripheral interventions can reduce infection rates and recovery times, as well as hospital stays. To be a trained interventionalist in the United States, an individual completes a five-year residency in radiology and a one- or two-year fellowship in IR.