Interventional Radiology: The intersection

I spent a month on the interventional service in September; a month I had anticipated long before it arrived. Since the moment I set foot in the hospital, I had been enamored with the IR department; despite this, I had only been able to experience it in bits and pieces through the periphery of other services. My IR month was largely my favorite month on medical school – interventional radiology is a phenomenal field with everything that appeals to me – imaging, interpretation, procedures, teamwork, gadgets, and innovation. I would highly recommend at least getting some exposure during your clinical years because it’s such an integral part of US medicine.

Much like surgery, there is an immediate satisfaction in many of the interventions – passing a stricture, draining an abscess, stopping an internal bleed, or creating an exit for a backed up biliary system. In my personal experience, the residents and staff are much more personable and willing to teach. The attending physicians were receptive to students helping out and did some decent teaching. On the service, I was able to be first assist on some of the more involved procedures, including fistulograms, PTCAs, and some GU stuff as well. I did realize that I need to be far more familiar with the ultrasound probe and its orientation – the interventionalists are wizards with the thing.

Lastly, much has been said about the longitudinal follow-up of patients after IR intervention. This has, for better or for worse, spawned the new IR residency with minimum clinic time, etc. I don’t think I have enough experience to comment on this competently, though I can say as an applicant it is a headache and a half. All in all, I look forward to this service during residency, and potentially fellowship.

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