What We Do

Interventional radiologists are 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.​

 Materials and Resources to Help You

Resources from the Patient & Family Education Program

Visit our Health Information section to find dedicated resources to help you understand your condition. Find the information you're looking for.​

 Your Procedure

How to Prepare

We need current blood work such as Complete Blood Count (CBC) and Prothrombin Time (PT)/International Normalized Ratio (INR) done no more than 60 days before your procedure. You must have nothing to eat or drink after midnight, but you can take normal medications with a sip of water in the morning (but no blood thinners should be taken).

If you're taking Coumadin (Warfarin), please consult with your referring physician before your appointment, as it may be necessary for you to stop taking this medication 5 days before your appointment. And please let the interventional doctor know on the day of your appointment.

If you're taking any other blood thinners then we'll give you more specific instructions.

For all procedures, you'll need to make sure someone can drive you home and stay with you for the night after your procedure. Please confirm with a family member or friend if you need someone to stay with you for the night.

Checking In

When you arrive at the Medical Imaging Department, check in at the reception desk.

The receptionist will ask you:

  • For your health card (OHIP card). If you do not have an OHIP card, please bring another form of government-issued photo ID (such as a driver's license, passport or other provincial health card). Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment.
  • Your name, address and birth date

Please arrive a full half hour before your appointment so we can process your paperwork. If you are late, your appointment may be subject to rescheduling. Please also bring a list of the medications you are taking.

Before the Procedure

When you arrive at the Medical Imaging Reception desk and after you have checked in, you will be brought to the Medical Imaging Day Unit, where a nurse will go over your health history with you and insert an IV if it's needed for the procedure. The radiologist will normally obtain consent for the procedure at this time (if they haven't already at a previous consult).

For some Interventional procedures, Contrast Media may be used during your procedure. This contrast makes your blood vessels show up in the scan and can provide more information for the radiologist. If you've had a previous contrast dye reaction (including itching, sneezing or hives), you'll need pre-medication, and your referring doctor will have to give you a prescription. Please take the medication according to the instructions for your own safety.

During and After the Procedure

Next, you'll be taken into the procedure room and will have to lie down on an x-ray table. You'll be asked to lie down on the x-ray table in one of several positions depending on the procedure and body part involved.

The nurse will then place a blood pressure cuff, ECG leads, and an oxygen saturation probe on you to monitor you throughout the procedure.

You may be given an analgesic and sedation throughout your procedure to keep you comfortable.

The area on your body in which the procedure is being done will be exposed and the skin will be cleansed to prevent infection.

After the procedure, you'll be taken back to the Medical Imaging Day Unit to recover, and you'll stay there for about an hour to 4 hours depending on what procedure has been done.

You'll then get a light refreshment or if you prefer, a family member can get you something to eat from the food court. When you're discharged and ready to go home, we'll give you a pamphlet with some instructions for discharge.

The Results of Your Procedure

After the procedure, a radiologist writes a report on what was found and sends it to your electronic health record. Then your doctor can review it and give you the results. For most of the procedures we perform, the results are provided by the radiologist on the same day as the procedure (other than biopsies).

How long will I be at the hospital?

The length of your appointment will depend on what kind of procedure you are having.

We do our best to stay on time. Unfortunately, your appointment may be delayed by emergencies or longer than anticipated procedures. We recommend that you come prepared for delays.

Procedure Specific Information

You may also receive further information related to your procedure during your appointment with your doctor and our nurses.​

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