Pediatric interventional radiology, or IR, is a specialized field within radiology. Specially trained doctors called interventional radiologists use imaging (e.g., X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, CT scan) to guide thin wires or catheters into a child’s blood vessel through a tiny incision (cut) to diagnose or treat different kinds of conditions and illnesses.
At Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, we are home to one of the nation’s largest pediatric radiology programs. We use state-of-the-art equipment and appropriately sized needles, catheters and wires to perform interventional radiology procedures on children and teens. We also implement low-dose radiology exposure protocols and specialized technology to help make sure each child gets the appropriate dose of radiation for his size.
What does a pediatric interventional radiologist do?
Interventional radiologists specialize in minimally invasive diagnostic exams and targeted treatments using imaging guidance. They use their expertise in reading X-rays, ultrasounds and other medical images to guide small catheters, wires or other instruments through the blood vessels or other pathways in the body to diagnose and treat diseases.
Our pediatric interventional radiologists have additional training in pediatrics and are experienced in using IR equipment and techniques unique to children.
What are the benefits of interventional radiology?
Interventional radiology procedures are typically less invasive than traditional surgery. This means there are no large incisions, as smaller incisions are less risky and typically lead to shorter recovery times and less pain.
Our team of pediatric interventional radiologists cares for children and teens who have a variety of conditions that may need to be diagnosed or treated using IR. This may include:
- Venous malformations
- Vascular malformations
- Lymphatic malformations
- Arteriovenous malformations (AVM)
- Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome
- Osteoid osteoma
- Deep venous thrombosis (DVT)
- May-Thurner syndrome
Led by Matthew Hawkins, MD, Director of Interventional Radiology at Children’s, our pediatric interventional radiologists meet with patients and their families before any procedure to assess the condition, discuss the procedure and answer questions. Our interventional radiologists also collaborate with doctors from other specialties, such as hematology, dermatology, orthopedics, otolaryngology (ENT), general surgery, plastic surgery and cardiology to help improve your child’s pre- and post-procedure care.