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Interventional Radiology

Interventional radiology diagnoses and treats patients without surgery.

Interventional radiologists are doctors trained in reading x-rays, ultrasound, MRI and other imaging devices and using them to guide tiny medical instruments, like catheters, through blood vessels or skin. Many conditions that used to need surgery can now be treated less invasively by interventional radiologists. Interventional radiology treatments offer less risk, less pain and less recovery time compared to open surgery.

Your appointment

  • Please arrive at least 30 minutes before your appointment. If you are late, your appointment may be rescheduled.
  • Bring a reusable bag for your personal belongings during the exam.
  • Bring someone with you. For all procedures, you will need to make sure someone can take you home and stay with you for the night after your procedure.
  • We will need current bloodwork results, which should be arranged at the time of booking. These could include complete blood count (CBC), prothrombin time (PT) and international normalized ratio (INR). Bloodwork needs to be completed within the last 60 days.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight before your appointment. You may drink enough water to take any necessary medications (except for blood thinners).
  • If you are taking a blood thinner, such as Coumadin (warfarin), please talk to your referring doctor. You might need to stop taking this medication five days before your appointment. Let the interventional radiologist or receptionist know if you take and/or have stopped taking blood thinners               
  • Bring a list of the medications you are currently taking.
  • For some interventional radiology procedures you will need contrast dye. Contrast dye is a material that changes the way an imaging device, like a CT scan or x-ray, sees parts of your body. It will be given intravenously or through a catheter.
  • While generally safe, contrast dyes have a small risk of allergic reaction. If you know you are allergic to contrast dye, tell the receptionist when booking your appointment. We may recommend taking medication such as a steroid or antihistamine before the exam. You would need to get a prescription for the steroid from your doctor.
  • The length of your appointment will depend on what kind of procedure you are having. Basic procedures take one hour to two hours. You may have to stay up to four hours after the procedure for recovery.
  • We do our best to stay on time. Unfortunately, your appointment may be delayed by unforeseen circumstances such as emergencies or longer than anticipated procedures. We recommend that you come prepared for delays.
  • When you arrive, check in at the Medical Imaging reception desk. You will then be brought to the Radiology Procedure Care Unit. If you wish to have a doctor other than your referring doctor copied on the report, please let the receptionist know before your test.
  • A nurse will review your health history with you and insert an IV if needed for your procedure. The radiologist will ask for your consent to perform the procedure (if they haven't already at a previous appointment).
  • Note that female patients aged 10 to 55 will be asked if there is any chance of pregnancy.
  • In most cases, you will change into a gown for the procedure.

A report will be sent to your doctor(s) within 10 days.

Please follow any instructions given to you at discharge.

Find Us

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Department of Medical Imaging
5th Floor, 600 University Avenue
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1X5

Contact Us

Phone: 416-586-4800 ext. 4418
Fax: 416-586-5322

Contact hours

Monday to Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Closed for lunch 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Outpatient hours of service

Monday to Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

*This area is wheelchair accessible*