Discussion in 'Radiology' started by hudsontc, Apr 16, 2003.

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  1. hudsontc

    hudsontc Attending 10+ Year Member

    Jan 11, 2002
    I'm curious about interventional radiology. The procedures that they do seem so sweet and the patient care setting seems equally as pleasing. So, I'm many interventional radiology fellowships are available each year? Is it competitive? Also, would it be foolish to go into radiology...intending to sub-specialize in interventional? Thank you.
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  3. Rads Resident

    Rads Resident Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 25, 2002
    It's hard to say where IR will be in 5 years. There are considerable turf battles with cards. Plus new imaging modalities (CT & MR angiography) will also likely put the squeeze on IR. That said, there are new procedures being developed every time you turn around and some of it truly is amazing.

    Right now, all radiology fellowships are pretty much wide open. Why? (1) The job market is so incredibly good. (2) Most partnerships pay all partners the same regardless of fellowship training. (3) There's such a demand that any radiologist can do whatever imaging/interventional they're capable of doing.

    IR also has a tremendous drawback. It puts the radiologist back into the world of call (the kind where you actually have to go into the hospital), weekend rounding and the headaches of patient care.
  4. eddieberetta

    eddieberetta 10+ Year Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    There will continue to be turf battles with Cards and VSx (and NSx for neuroangio), however IR is in huge demand, and you will have tons of work no matter how you enter it. The key to deciding whether to do Rads-IR is to determine whether you enjoy diagnostic radiology. If your dream job includes a couple days of IR (+/- a very small or interdisciplinary clinic) and a couple days of DR, Rads is the way to go. If your dream job includes some OR and some IR, you obviously should pursue surgery. Cards is a slow way to do IR, and ultimately your focus will be on heart cath (even though some do periph), and angiocardiography is a separate gig from IR. If you want IR only, you currently have to choose which specialty you like the most for the first 5-6 yrs of training. Also IR offers a slightly different case mix, including angio, biopsy, tube placement and drainages etc. compared to other specialties that are mainly vasc.

    It is not foolish to enter rads to pursue IR, however the training in DR is long and intense -- you owe it to yourself to make sure you like the diagnostics since most IR will only come later. I should add that in my opinion as a mere MS4 entering rads, IR adds more hard work and patient care but also a lot of satisfaction to a radiologists' practice.

    Parenthetically, I think it is sad that we spend so much time building walls in medicine. As a result of the walls, we get drawn into divisive turf wars with each other, and then lose ground to anciliary providers who have a united front. We need a new training pathway that better reflects the needs of an IR specialist, but this has been discussed at length and the turf boundaries are too "hot."

    Good luck deciding.
  5. Jive Turkey

    Jive Turkey Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 16, 2002
    I understand IR is more demanding (time-wise) compared to DR. But I'm curious as to how the IR "lifestyle" compares with other surgical specialties.

    Are IR docs living the life of a general surgeon, or is it more like ENT? Where on the spectrum is IR (can anyone "rank" it among gen surg, ENT, ophtho, DR, and interventional cards). Thanks.
  6. eddieberetta

    eddieberetta 10+ Year Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    The beauty is that your options are wide open. I met a fellow who recently did a fellowship in Florida and is wrapping up another fellowship at our school who was offered just under 7 figures for a VIR-only job. It would have been non-stop work including tons of weekend work, call, very hardcore. On the other hand, I have met guys who do 1-2 days a week of interventional 3-4 of DR, call 1 in 8 and live very comfortably, with a 8-6 style job. There are also those who do IR-only 8-5 without call. There is a lot of choice right now, depending on which factors matter most to you: DR or no DR, income, hours, call. Another option is academics, where you have resident/fellow support.

    It is hard to compare to other specialties (ENT includes head and neck oncology for e.g.), but I would say the lifestyle is at best a bit worse than DR and at worst a bit better than gensurg.
  7. shigaT

    shigaT Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 9, 2001
    I've heard that IR docs have a higher rate of certain cancers (i.e. thyroid) - anyone know any stats about this?


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