The history of goes back to the 1970s. In 1999, there were 19 interventional radiology specialists in nine institutions. They performed around 2,000 procedures. It has grown to 56 institutions and 363 members of the Indian Society of Vascular and Interventional Radiology that reported over 50,000 procedures last year. But interventional radiology in India is still restricted to only big metro cities and has tremendous potential for expansion to the interiors. Interventional radiology in India is at junctures today. The equipment prices of interventional radiology in India are very high and do not meet with the house hold capita income. So most products are still imported. Despite facing some issues, there is excellent scope for the practice of interventional radiology in India. Interventionists perform all niche techniques available over the world and participate in experimental and clinical research. Some of the recent individual and collaborative research include gene therapy in vascular disease, stem cell therapy in various disease states, and tagged stem cell homing by MRI and synthetic valves. Interventional radiology in India is strategically assured for growth.
The aspects of uniqueness in practicing interventional radiology in India and similarities to the West
The devices have the same approval, such as FDA and CE marks. The specialists of interventional radiology specialists in India are often trained with similar qualifications and share similar expertise. Having no language barrier also helps. The specialists are well trained in implementing research methods and clinical and experimental projects and trials. Interventional radiology specialists in India have issues like elsewhere; more non-radiologists practice interventional radiology in India than the trained interventional radiologists in India.
- Specific issues that are unique to i include individual specific disease states that have a predisposition for this subcontinent with resultant implications for interventional radiology device technology development and technique usages; issues related to availability, mismatch of sizes and cost; cost factors that often hinder the use of interventional radiology techniques in favor of surgery as the latter is cheaper.
- Lack of interventional radiology specialists − most doctors practice diagnostic as well as bits of whole body interventional radiology in India, but there are very few dedicated interventional radiology specialists in India and even fewer who specialize in specific body systems for interventional radiology practice; lacking support for the growth of interventional radiology in India; scarce regular updates in information and methods; and lack of insurance cover for interventional radiology procedures.
Now that we have learned about the history and challenges of interventional radiology in India, let’s learn about interventional radiology, its needs, and some examples.
What is Interventional Radiology?
In interventional radiology (also known as IR), interventional radiologists use advanced imaging modalities to perform minimally invasive surgical procedures that diagnose, treat, and cure many kinds of diseases. Imaging modalities used include fluoroscopy, ultrasound, CT scan. work in the department of the vascular and interventional radiology departments. Interventional radiologists in India make small pinhole-sized incisions, usually in your groins, abdomen, and chest, and use needles, catheters, and wires to treat your body’s disease. Imaging modalities are used to guide their catheters and wires through your blood vessels, arteries, and organs.
Why do we need Interventional Radiology?
- In the recent era, this specialty branch, i.e., IR, has evolved, and it is now the minimally invasive surgical technique to treat diseases. It reduces recovery time, pain, and risk to patients who would otherwise require traditional open surgery. It offers precise treatment to the patients. Thus, interventional radiology in India has become one of the primary ways to treat many types of diseases like liver and biliary tumors, abdominal bleed, etc.
Many times it is more effective than traditional open surgeries. But specialists of interventional radiology in India are still far less, and the prices are high, so many people choose open-heart surgeries.
Interventional Radiology Examples:
- Radiofrequency / Microwave ablation– used to kill liver tumors.
- Embolization blocks blood flows to cancer cells or bleeding abdominal vessels in case of trauma.
- Angioplasty – repair, opening, or unblocking of blood vessels using balloons.
- Stenting – small mesh tubes that treat partially blocked, narrow arteries
- Thrombolysis dissolving blood clots, e.g., DVT.
- Biopsies / FNAC – the study of cells, tissues.
- Drainages- Any pus, collection, or fluid
- Varicose vein ablation – Laser or RFA.
- Difficult central venous line insertion – Permacath.
- Tunneled pleural or ascites catheter – Long term intermittent drainage