Advancing IR knowledge – or why nobody knows what IRs are and how we should and could change that


Interventional Radiology is a very important aspect of medicine and growing fast regarding different techniques and new applications. Nevertheless still the vast majority of patients and even doctors do not know who we are and what we do. Find out what could be the reason and how we could change that.

By Florian Wolf

Prof. Wolf is Vice Chair of the Division of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria


Twitter: @docflo

LinkedIn: Florian Wolf

The reasons why nobody knows what IRs do all day long have been well known for long time and have not changed dramatically over the past years:
1. We are not recognized as our own speciality like a surgeon, a cardiologist or a urologist.
2. The reason for #1 is that most of us do not have our own wards and even many of us do not have any kind of outpatient service – we are still very often just a “service” department.
3. We do so many different things from head to toe that even radiologists very often do not know what their IR colleagues are able to do.


In my personal opinion, a very simple reason why doctors and especially patients do not know what we are doing is our strange name: “Interventional Radiologist”. When you ask people on the street what a radiologist is doing, most of them will answer “they look at chest x-rays and broken bones” – although a very small group of radiologists is doing that all day long.

The term “radiologist” combined with “Interventional” is even more confusing. When I am asked what that means I answer: I do all kind of minimal invasive procedures from head (stroke) to toe (PAOD treatment) using some kind of imaging like X-ray, MRI, CT or ultrasound. When you have a better name for our great subspeciality – feel free to comment on the blog post, I was not successful until now.

How could the image of IR change? Get out of your office, go to clinical meetings, see your patients in the ward and in the outpatient clinic, talk to your referring physicians, get into the media (newspaper, TV, internet, etc.), be present in all kind of social media like Twitter & co as well as present yourself and your work on your website.


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