< Back

What are Interventional Radiologists?

Interventional Radiology is open: Sub Department of Medical Imaging.

Main phone line: For inquiries about Interventional Radiology (IR) or Interventional Services during normal working hours, call the IR suite directly at 707-393-2595.


The medical imaging department includes over 150 staff members and radiologists.

The landscape of medicine is constantly changing, and for the past 40 years, interventional radiologists have been responsible for much of the medical innovation and development of the minimally invasive procedures that are commonplace today. Interventional radiologists pioneered modern medicine with the invention of angioplasty and the catheter-delivered stent, which were first used to treat peripheral arterial disease. By using a catheter to open the blocked artery, the procedure allowed an 82-year-old woman, who refused amputation surgery, to keep her gangrene ravaged left foot. To her surgeon’s disbelief, her pain ceased, she started walking, and three “irreversibly” gangrenous toes spontaneously sloughed. She left the hospital on her feet – both of them. Charles Dotter, MD the interventional radiologist that pioneered this technique, is know as the “Father of Interventional Radiology” and was nominated for the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1978.

Angioplasty and stenting revolutionized medicine and led the way for the more widely known applications of coronary artery angioplasty and stenting that revolutionized the practice of cardiology. Today, many conditions that once required surgery can be treated non-surgically by interventional radiologists. Through a small knick in the skin, they use tiny catheters and miniature instruments so small they can be run through a person’s network of arteries to treat at the site of illness internally, saving the patient from open invasive surgery. While no treatment is risk free, the risks of interventional procedures are far lower than the risks of open surgery, and are a major advance in medicine for patients.

Some of the more recent advances in interventional radiology include:

  • Non-Surgical ablation of tumors to kill cancer without harming the surrounding tissue.
  • Embolization therapy to stop hemorrhaging or to block the blood supply to a tumor.
  • Catheter-directed thrombolysis to clear blood clots, preventing disability from deep vein thrombosis and stroke.