How to Get Into Interventional Radiology


How to Get Into Interventional Radiology

Interventional radiology (IR) is a rapidly growing field that combines image-guided procedures with minimally invasive techniques to diagnose and treat a variety of medical conditions. If you are interested in pursuing a career in this exciting specialty, here are some steps you can take to get into interventional radiology.

1. Understand the Field: Familiarize yourself with the basics of interventional radiology. Learn about the various procedures performed, the equipment used, and the conditions treated. Gain an understanding of the impact IR has on patient care and the potential for innovation in this field.

2. Medical School: Obtain a medical degree from an accredited medical school. During your time in medical school, take advantage of any opportunities to gain exposure to radiology and interventional radiology. Some medical schools may offer elective rotations or research opportunities in this field.

3. Residency: After completing medical school, apply for a residency position in diagnostic radiology. This typically involves a four-year training program in which you will learn the fundamentals of radiology. During your residency, express your interest in interventional radiology and seek out opportunities to observe and assist with procedures.

4. Fellowship: Following your residency, apply for a fellowship in interventional radiology. Fellowships in IR typically last one to two years and provide specialized training in image-guided procedures. During this time, you will gain hands-on experience in performing a wide range of interventional procedures under the guidance of experienced faculty.

5. Certification: Upon completion of your fellowship, you will be eligible to take the certification examination administered by the American Board of Radiology (ABR). Achieving board certification in interventional radiology is highly recommended and provides official recognition of your expertise in the field.

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6. Continuing Education: Stay up to date with the latest advancements in interventional radiology through continued education. Attend conferences, workshops, and seminars to expand your knowledge and refine your skills. Engage in research and contribute to the growing body of knowledge in this field.

7. Networking: Build relationships with other interventional radiologists and professionals in the field. Join professional organizations such as the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) and participate in their activities. Networking can provide valuable opportunities for collaboration, mentorship, and career advancement.


1. Is interventional radiology a competitive specialty?
Yes, interventional radiology is a highly competitive specialty. It requires a strong academic background, excellent procedural skills, and a demonstrated commitment to the field.

2. Can I specialize in interventional radiology right after medical school?
No, you must complete a residency in diagnostic radiology before pursuing a fellowship in interventional radiology. This ensures that you have a solid foundation in radiology before focusing on the interventional aspect.

3. What are the benefits of pursuing a career in interventional radiology?
Interventional radiology offers the opportunity to perform minimally invasive procedures, often providing faster recovery times and fewer complications for patients. It also allows for a high level of patient interaction and the potential for groundbreaking research and innovation.

4. How long does it take to become an interventional radiologist?
After completing medical school, it takes approximately seven to eight years of further training, including residency and fellowship, to become an interventional radiologist.

5. What are some common procedures performed by interventional radiologists?
Interventional radiologists perform a wide range of procedures, including angioplasty, embolization, biopsy, stenting, catheter-directed thrombolysis, and tumor ablation.

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6. Can interventional radiologists work in both hospital and outpatient settings?
Yes, interventional radiologists can work in both hospital and outpatient settings. They may perform procedures in an interventional radiology suite, operating room, or even at the patient’s bedside.

7. Are there any subspecialties within interventional radiology?
Yes, there are several subspecialties within interventional radiology, including vascular and interventional neurology, interventional oncology, pediatric interventional radiology, and women’s health interventions.

In conclusion, pursuing a career in interventional radiology requires dedication, extensive training, and a passion for innovation. By following these steps and seeking out opportunities to gain experience and knowledge in the field, you can embark on a rewarding career in interventional radiology.