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IR Questions


Full Member
2+ Year Member
Apr 12, 2017
    Hi everyone! I'm an incoming M1, and a I have a few questions about IR.

    1. What is the split in IR as an attending physician at an academic hospital between OR/procedures and clinic time? How similar is it to DR (analyzing scans in a room all day)?

    2. What procedures are most common? What sorts of tech is used?

    3. If I do decide to pursue IR, how important is IR research (and conducting research early) to securing an academic residency spot at one of my top choices, wherever that ends up being? In general, how research-heavy is the field (e.g. Do attendings at most academic hospitals conduct research)?

    Thanks! I don't know a whole lot about IR, so I'd appreciate any answers or insights into the field!


    IR/NeuroIR attending
    10+ Year Member
    Jul 13, 2006
    1. Attending Physician
      Awesome that you have some interest in this field early, as I hadn't even heard of it until M3.

      1. I'm a current IR fellow. My attendings generally have a half day of clinic per week, as well as an academic day. Where I did residency, it was more academic/pp hybrid. They didn't really have a formal clinic. They had a room they used for outpatient consults/follow-up and fit them in between cases whenever. The trend is for a more clinical model with a real outpatient clinic, but it's still not quite there yet at a lot of places.

      2. This will vary, but for "vascular" IR: venous access (ports, tunneled lines), gastrostomy, nephrostomy, biliary/cholecystostomy, IVC filters, dialysis interventions, interventional oncology (TACE, Y90, ablation), uterine embolization. You may also do things like PAD work, possibly including aneurysm repair/endografts, stroke thrombolysis, prostate embolization, spinal augmentation, pain interventions, DVT/PE thrombolysis, cosmetic/therapeutic venous ablation, etc. This will vary more depending on where you go. "Non-vascular" IR would include lots of bread and butter things like biopsies and drainages, which are often done by IR.

      The general "tech" used includes imaging guidance for procedures - fluoroscopy, CT, US; possibly MRI at some academic centers. Plenty of catheters, wires, balloons, stents, coils, and various other devices that you could write a book on.

      3. Again, it varies. There are some big names that do heavy research, but at my institution, there is not that much. I would not call it "research-heavy," although there is more being done particularly in the interventional oncology space recently. I think some research would be beneficial to your application, though maybe not absolutely required. It was a fairly competitive match this year for the IR/DR residency spots from what I heard, so anything helps.
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