What is Interventional Radiology?

Interventional radiology refers to radiologists treating disease with minimally invasive surgery. These surgeries are performed using radiologic images to guide small catheters. Because many of these procedures are safer and more cost effective, interventional radiology is replacing some traditional surgeries. 

Benefits of Interventional Radiology

Additional benefits include:

  • Less risk and pain,
  • Shorter recovery time, and
  • In some cases no hospital stay.

About the Equipment

University of Utah Health Care radiology offers a full range of diagnostic imaging and therapeutic services for the community. Our radiologists are subspecialty trained in both neurological and body interventions. We use the latest medical equipment to optimize care provided to our patients. This includes a biplane angiogram suite, which allows physicians to see three dimensional images while performing procedures. This results in better care and improved outcomes.

Interventional Radiology

What is interventional radiology?

Interventional radiologists diagnose and treat disease. They treat a wide range of conditions in the body by inserting various small tools, such as catheters or wires from outside the body. X-ray and imaging techniques such as ultrasound help guide the radiologist. Interventional radiology can be used instead of surgery for many conditions. In some cases, it can eliminate the need for hospitalization.

Who is the interventional radiologist?

The interventional radiologist is a medical doctor who has completed an accredited residency program. He or she can then take the board exam given by the American Board of Radiology. Next, the interventional radiologist completes a fellowship-training program. These experts work closely with other doctors and play an important role on the treatment team.

What procedures do interventional radiologists perform?

Interventional radiologists do a variety of procedures, including:

  • Angiography. This is an X-ray of the arteries and veins to find blockage or narrowing of the vessels as well as other problems.

  • Angioplasty. The doctor inserts a small balloon-tipped catheter into a blood vessel. Then he or she inflates the balloon to open up an area of blockage inside the vessel.

  • Embolization. The doctor inserts a substance through a catheter into a blood vessel to stop blood flow thru that vessel. This can be done to control excessive bleeding.

  • Gastrostomy tubes. The doctor inserts a feeding tube into the stomach if you can’t take food by mouth.

  • Intravascular ultrasound. The use of ultrasound inside a blood vessel to better see the inside of the vessel to find problems.

  • Stent placement. The doctor places a tiny, expandable mesh coil, called a stent, inside a blood vessel at the site of a blockage. He or she expands the stent to open up the blockage.

  • Foreign body removal. The doctor inserts a catheter into a blood vessel to remove a foreign body in the vessel.

  • Needle biopsy. The doctor inserts a small needle into the abnormal area in almost any part of the body, guided by imaging techniques, to take a tissue biopsy. This type of biopsy can provide a diagnosis without surgical intervention. An example of this procedure is called the needle breast biopsy.

  • IVC filters. The doctor inserts a small filter into the inferior vena cava (IVC), a  large vein in your abdomen. The filter catches blood clots that may go into your lungs

  • Injection of clot-dissolving agents. The doctor injects clot-dissolving drugs, such as tissue plasminogen activator, into the body to dissolve blood clots and increase blood flow to your arms or legs or organs in of your body.

  • Catheters insertions. The doctor inserts a catheter into large veins for giving chemotherapy drugs, nutritional support, and hemodialysis. He or she may also insert a catheter before a bone-marrow transplant.

  • Cancer treatment. The doctor gives the cancer medicine directly to the tumor site.


Interventional Radiology


University Hospital

Rulon Hardman, MD, PhD

Rulon Hardman, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor in Interventional Radiology at the University of Utah. Dr. Hardman completed his medical training at Dartmouth Medical School. He performed his residency in Diagnostic Radiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. While in residency, he also obtained a PhD in Radiologi... Read More


Interventional Radiology, Radiology


A location has not yet been added by this physician.

Ryan G. O'Hara, MD

Patient Rating:


4.7 out of 5

Dr. O’Hara completed his medical training at the University of Washington in Seattle followed by training in diagnostic radiology at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington. He then travelled to Philadelphia to pursue fellowship training in Vascular and Interventional Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania and obtained a certificate... Read More

Edwin A. Stevens, MD

Edwin A. "Steve" Stevens, MD is a Professor in the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences at the University of Utah. Dr. Stevens is an interventional neuroradiologist who treats neurological diseases by endovascular and minimally invasive techniques guided by imaging. Dr. Stevens has given over 50 presentations, published over 30 articles and... Read More

Huntsman Cancer Institute 2000 Circle of Hope Dr.
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
University of Utah Hospital 50 N. Medical Drive
Salt Lake City, Utah 84132