Interventional radiology (IR) is an exciting area of modern medicine delivering precise, targeted treatment for complex diseases and conditions throughout the body. Using minimally invasive image-guided techniques, interventional radiologists provide high quality care with less morbidity and often at a lower cost than many surgical alternatives.
IR is practiced across a spectrum, from basic procedures performed by clinical radiologists through to complex vascular, oncological and neurological interventions performed by versatile specialist radiologists with advanced skills in IR and interventional neuroradiology (INR).
IR is an exciting combination of clinical interaction, procedural work and imaging. As one of the most innovative and fastest growing medical professions, IR provides radiologists with a unique opportunity to pioneer and deliver treatment techniques utilising cutting edge technology.
More than just proceduralists, IRs and INRs are clinically focused radiologists integrated into the patient care team. And the future for IR is bright. Health services are increasingly recognising the value of IR and INR as the future of modern medicine – delivering cost-effective, minimally invasive treatments, with shorter procedural and recovery times and better patient-focused outcomes than many surgical alternatives.
To be a competent and effective IR or INR, you need:
The interventional training journey starts within the RANZCR Clinical Radiology Training Program, where registrars develop a range of basic procedural and clinical competencies. This training program lays the foundations required for interventional practice, which can be built upon through Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities or by undertaking a Fellowship in IR or INR upon receiving the FRANZCR.
These Fellowship positions equip radiologists to perform complex procedures requiring specialised interventional skills. With hospitals increasingly recognising the value of IR and INR in delivering cost-efficiencies and optimal patient outcomes, radiologists who complete these Fellowships often go on to practice in full time IR or INR consultant positions.
Fellowships for Interventional Radiology are typically one year in duration. Once the Fellowship is completed, some IRs choose to sit the European Board of Interventional Radiology (EBIR) examination, hosted by the Interventional Radiology Society of Australasia (IRSA) at their annual meeting.
Fellowships for Interventional Neuroradiology are a minimum two years in duration. Once the Fellowship is completed, INRs can apply for a recognition of training in INR through the Conjoint Committee for the Recognition of Training in Interventional Neuroradiology (CCINR).
Fellowships are offered at most major hospitals and some regional centres. For a list of current Fellowship opportunities, please visit the RANZCR Jobs website.
In 2016, the College established the Interventional Radiology Committee (IRC) to work across the spectrum of intervention-related issues, from basic interventions performed by all radiologists to high-level complex procedures. The IRC was established to improve the recognition and support for IRs and INRs within the College structure, and to better advocate for these rapidly evolving specialties.
The IRC provides advice to the Faculty of Clinical Radiology Council and represents the interests of College members working in IR and INR – improving the flow of information, raising the voice and profile of IR and INR in key forums, interacting with stakeholders, and ensuring that decision-making is guided by the needs of patients and the best patient outcomes achievable. To view the IRC's Terms of Reference see the RANZCR Committees page.
The IRC is working towards achieving specialty recognition for IR and INR as a clinical radiology specialty. The pathway to achieving this is clearly defined by the Australian Medical Council and Medical Board of Australia. Laying the groundwork for specialty recognition involves many areas of work, below is an outline of work currently being progressed:
The Road Map for Advancing Interventional Radiology and Interventional Neuroradiology across Australia and New Zealand articulates the importance of IR and INR as clinical specialties and the widespread benefits they provide to radiology, health systems and patients, and outlines RANZCR’s commitment to achieving this.
The IR and INR standards of practice document establishes the minimum acceptable practice standards for facilities and staff providing IR and INR services. They will be released for member consultation very soon
An evidence-based scoping review is currently underway to articulate the clinical value of IR and INR and also facilitate improved utilisation of IR and INR in modern clinical practice.
Are you involved in any research that could be considered for this review or know of any early studies that may be concluding this year? Or are there research papers you know of that meet one or more of the categories outlined above? Would you like to contribute to this critical work? Please get in touch.
A key role for the IRC is to advocate for IR and INR by responding to government and other medical colleges and societies' consultations and submissions. Including:
The RANZCR Standards of Practice for Clinical Radiology Version 11 are the standards by which IR and INR services are expected to be delivered in Australia and New Zealand. Please note, some sections of the standards are currently being reviewed by the IRC and key stakeholders.
InsideRadiology is a resource developed by the College on clinical radiology tests, procedures and interventions, providing up-to-date information to health consumers and health professionals and improving patient-doctor communication.
A range of Interventional Radiology and Interventional Neuroradiology procedures are detailed on the InsideRadiology website.
For a range of resources, information and education opportunities relating to IR and INR, see below links to local and international interventional societies: