Interventional Radiology

What is Interventional Radiology

Interventional Radiology (IR), which in the setting of treating cancer is sometimes referred to as Interventional Oncology (IO), is a subspecialty within Diagnostic Radiology which uses our ability to see within the body by means of medical imaging (Xray, ultrasound, or CT) to perform procedures and delivery therapies in a minimally invasive manner. Usually, only very small incisions are needed for what might otherwise require larger surgeries, and in that way the pain and risks of obtaining a diagnosis or providing treatment can be greatly reduced.

Microwave Ablation

Microwave ablation uses microwaves to heat and destroy cancer cells.

Radiofrequency Ablation

A procedure that uses radio waves to heat and destroy abnormal cells. The radio waves travel through electrodes (small devices that carry electricity). Radiofrequency ablation may be used to treat cancer and other conditions.

NanoKnife Irreversible Electroporation (IRE)

This ablation technology destroys tumor cells using high-voltage electrical energy. Multiple probes shoot electricity between them, poking microscopic holes in the cells, enhancing cancer cell death, but does not damage surrounding ducts and blood vessels. NanoKnife is very useful for treating small tumors in difficult locations.

Transarterial Chemoembolization (TACE)

A procedure in which the blood supply to a tumor is blocked after anticancer drugs are given in blood vessels near the tumor. Sometimes, the anticancer drugs are attached to small beads that are injected into an artery that feeds the tumor. The beads block blood flow to the tumor as they release the drug. This allows a higher amount of drug to reach the tumor for a longer period of time, which may kill more cancer cells. It also causes fewer side effects because very little of the drug reaches other parts of the body. Transarterial chemoembolization is used to treat liver cancer. Also called chemoembolization and TACE.


A type of radiation therapy used to treat liver cancer that is advanced or has come back. Tiny beads that hold the radioisotope yttrium Y 90 are injected into the hepatic artery (the main blood vessel that carries blood to the liver). The beads collect in the tumor and the yttrium Y 90 gives off radiation. This destroys the blood vessels that the tumor needs to grow and kills the cancer cells. Radioembolization is a type of selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT). Also called intra-arterial brachytherapy.