Interventional Radiology

Pediatric Interventional RadiologyAt UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, we believe parents and guardians can contribute to the success of medical procedures and invite you to participate. Please read the following information to learn about this type of procedure and how you can help.

Fast Facts About Interventional Radiology

  • Interventional Radiology, also known as IR, is a subspecialty of UPMC Children’s Hospital's Department of Pediatric Radiology.
  • Pediatric IR doctors use different types of machines to take pictures or images of certain areas and use these images while they do image-guided procedures for children. These imaging machines include:
  • Your child’s doctor has consulted with the pediatric IR doctor to do a procedure using images for guidance.
  • The IR doctor will decide which type of imaging machine to use for your child’s procedure or treatment, depending on your child’s case and health history.
  • Some of these procedures are done to diagnose illnesses, while others are done to treat illnesses.

What Is Interventional Radiology?

Interventional radiology (IR) doctors use pictures or images to help them reach certain parts of the body that can’t be seen from the outside. IR doctors use these images of the inside of the body as road maps to guide instruments through the body to those hard-to-reach areas. These procedures are usually done with needles or other tiny instruments, such as small catheters or tubes.

IR doctors can do a wide variety of procedures using images to guide them. Today, many conditions that once required open surgeries can be treated microsurgically by IR doctors. IR treatments offer fewer risks, less pain and quicker recovery time compared to open surgeries.

What Is An Interventional Radiologist?

Pediatric interventional radiologists are board-certified doctors who specialize in using targeted procedures and treatments for children. They are specially trained to perform procedures and treatments in the least invasive ways, meaning that doctors can get the information they need to diagnose and treat problems, while patients receive the lowest risk and least discomfort possible. Pediatric IR doctors also work in collaboration with other pediatric specialists to diagnose and treat illnesses.

IR doctors have a unique blend of skills that allow them to use their imaging knowledge to develop new ways to treat problems. They adapt techniques proven to work for one problem and apply it to others.

Pediatric IR doctors have pioneered the best procedures for safely treating children and have set the standards for safety and quality. Patient safety is the most important concern in developing these advances in IR procedures and treatments.

The Interventional Radiology Procedure

The IR team will make every attempt to perform your child’s procedure in a timely manner, but sometimes emergencies occur that can delay your child’s procedure or treatment. Emergencies must be handled immediately and cannot be predicted. Please be patient with the IR team as we work to accommodate your child’s needs. Our team is dedicated to providing the best care for your child, and for all of our patients.

Fast Facts About Radiation

As a parent, you may have concerns about radiation exposure. Children’s Hospital takes every precaution to make sure your child is safe.

  • Our goal is to do the procedure correctly and thoroughly, while exposing your child to the smallest amount of radiation necessary to complete the procedure.
  • Advances in equipment and imaging have lowered the amount of radiation your child will receive.
  • All of the equipment is inspected regularly.

A Parent’s/Guardian’s Role During the Procedure

We welcome your help and support before and after the IR procedure. The most important role of a parent and guardian is to help your child stay calm and relaxed before the procedure.

  • The best way to help your child stay calm is for you to stay calm.
  • We encourage you to talk to your child and hold his or her hand before the procedure.
  • We welcome your questions, but please ask them either before or after the procedure.

After the Procedure

The IR doctor will provide a written report of the results of your child’s IR procedure or treatment to the doctor who prescribed it. You should contact your doctor to get the results of your child’s procedure. Results often are not available on the same day the IR procedure or treatment was done.

The Interventional doctor should visit you after the procedure to provide a wrap up of the exam and allow questions and concerns to be voiced.

Special Needs

If your child has any special needs or health issues you feel the doctor performing the scan needs to know about, please call the Department of Pediatric Radiology at Children’s before the test and ask to speak with a nurse. It is important to notify us in advance about any special needs.

Preparing your child beforehand, as well as comforting your child during the test, will help your child have a more positive experience. Sometimes it is difficult to know how to explain tests to children. If you have any questions about ways to prepare or support your child, or if feel your child will have difficulty during the test, please call the Department of Pediatric Radiology at Children’s and ask to speak with the Child Life Specialist.

Preparation Booklet for Patient (Social Story)