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Interventional Radiology at UPMC

With 100+ imaging centers throughout Pennsylvania, western New York, and western Maryland, UPMC Imaging Services offers interventional radiology (IR) near you.

IR is an option to treat many conditions in place of major surgery. And, in some cases, you don't need to stay in the hospital.

Find an imaging location near you


What Is Interventional Radiology?

IR techniques both diagnose and treat a broad range of diseases. They provide a less invasive option than surgery.

Doctors use various small instruments — such as tubes or wires — and x-rays, CT scans, or ultrasound guidance.

Often, they only need to make tiny, pinhole-sized incisions to guide the tools right to where you need treatment.

Interventional Radiology Procedures


  • Detects blocked or narrowed arteries and veins using an x-ray.
  • Treats blocked vessels, such as those in the legs or kidneys, with a small stent that inflates and opens the vessel. This IR technique is balloon angioplasty.


  • Uses a balloon-tipped catheter to open up blocked or narrowed blood vessels.


  • Uses a small tube to insert a substance — such as a sponge or beads — into a blood vessel to stop excessive bleeding.

Feeding tubes

  • Inserts a tube into the stomach to nourish people who can't eat or drink by mouth.

Intravascular ultrasound

  • Uses ultrasound to better see inside a blood vessel and detect problems.

Stent placement

  • Places a tiny coil (stent) inside a blood vessel at the site of a blockage. The stent expands to open up the blockage.

Foreign body extraction

  • Uses a catheter to retrieve a foreign body from a blood vessel.

Needle biopsy

  • Uses imaging techniques to guide a small needle into an abnormal area almost anywhere in the body to get a tissue sample.
  • Can provide a diagnosis without surgery.

Blood clot filters

  • Inserts a small filter into a vein to catch and break up blood clots.

Clot-lysing shots

Shots of clot-lysing agents, such as tissue plasminogen activator (TPA):

  • Dissolve blood clots.
  • Increase blood flow to the heart or brain.

Catheter insertions

  • Inserts a catheter into large veins to give chemotherapy drugs, nutritional support, and hemodialysis.

Cancer treatment

  • Uses IR techniques to deliver cancer drugs right to the tumor site.