Interventional Radiology

Interventional Radiology (IR) is an exciting area of modern medicine delivering precise, targeted treatment for complex diseases and conditions throughout the body.


    Interventional radiology (IR) is an exciting area of modern medicine delivering precise, targeted treatment for complex diseases and conditions throughout the body. CT, fluoroscopy, mammography, MRI or ultrasound is used to guide a small needle or catheter (a narrow tube) for placement. Interventional radiology can be used to diagnose and/or treat many conditions that once required surgery.

    There are many advantages of IR, some being: it is minimally invasive, most procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis, general anaesthesia is usually not required, risk of infection, pain and recovery time are significantly reduced, and procedure cost is much less compared with surgery.

    Interventional procedures can be categorised as:

    • Management of back or spine pain where typically CT is used to guide injections into the spinal joints or block pain from nerves
    • The biopsy or sampling of tissue from organs that are then sent for assessment by pathology
    • Direct injections into tendons to aid the recovery or treat injuries
    • Injection into joints to reduce pain and aid recovery
    • To drain fluid from joints or other collections
    • Angiography, including embolisation, stent placement and tumor ablation

    Specific preparation instructions will depend on the procedure, and your current medications. This is determined by our Interventional Radiologist. If you will be put under general anaesthetic, it is important that you do not eat or drink anything for 6 hours before your procedure. Please be sure you clearly understand any pre-procedure instructions of which will be outlined by our bookings staff.

    Please ensure that you bring your request form, any relevant previous imaging along with your Medicare card and any concession cards to your appointment. A doctor’s referral and an appointment are required for all examinations. Please advise our team when you are making an appointment if you are taking any medications that thin your blood.


    There are many types of IR, and each procedure varies. Our Radiologist and nurse will explain your procedure to you on the day. Our highly trained staff will be available to answer any questions you may have prior to or after the procedure.


    For some procedures you may be required to arrange transport to and from your appointment. Any post-procedure care will be fully explained at the time of booking.

    The radiologist who performs the interventional procedure will complete a report regarding the procedure and forward to your referring doctor. The results will be sent directly to the referring doctor, and it is very important you book a timely follow-up appointment to discuss the results and effectiveness of the procedure.


    As with most medical procedures there are slight risks involved. The risks involved in Interventional Radiology are dependent upon the procedure you have been referred for; however, the benefits generally outweigh the risks.

Find out more about the services we offer in this area

Please note due to the complexity of some interventional procedures, not all procedures are available at all sites. Not all services are listed below, and not all services are available at every site.

    Cortisone is the name used to describe a group of drugs commonly known as corticosteroids. Cortisone is used to treat pain in various parts of the body where inflammation is felt to be the cause of this pain. Cortisone is effective in treating such pain as it is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Using CT or Ultrasound to guide the injection into the area of suspected/proven pain allows a high dose of cortisone to be accurately delivered without the side effects of taking cortisone tablets.

    Cortisone injections are performed as a treatment for pain associated with a variety of musculoskeletal disorders, such as:

    • Bursitis (most commonly subacromial and trochanteric bursitis)
    • Arthritis
    • Nerve pain (most commonly for carpal tunnel syndrome)
    • Tendinitis and Tenosynovitis (such as plantar fasciitis, trigger finger, DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis, Tennis and Golfer’s elbow)
    • Other conditions where inflammation is a contributor to the pain (for example frozen shoulder/adhesive capsulitis, Morton’s neuroma, ganglion cyst injections and Dupuytren’s contracture)

    A doctor’s referral and an appointment are required for this examination.

    Please let us know when making your appointment if you are taking any medications that thin your blood.

    Please also bring along your request form, any previous imaging, and your Medicare card/any concession cards to your appointment.


    The skin is washed with antiseptic. A thin needle, similar to a needle used for taking a blood sample is guided into the area to be treated using CT or ultrasound. There may be mild discomfort with needle placement and during the injection. In some cases where a cyst or ganglion is distended with fluid, the cortisone may be injected after an attempt to aspirate (remove) the fluid.

    Please allow 20-30 minutes for this procedure.


    You will be able to leave the clinic shortly after the procedure is completed and will usually be able to drive yourself home. Alternatively, you may wish to ask someone to drive you home.

    If you experience unusual or concerning symptoms following the injection, please contact our clinic or your local doctor.

    The Lake Imaging Radiologist will send a report to your referring clinician detailing the procedure performed. Sometimes you will be requested to make a follow up appointment with your doctor to review the treatment.


    CT or Ultrasound guided Cortisone injections are very safe procedures with few significant risks.

    • Infections resulting from Cortisone injections are extremely rare (less than 1/1000).
    • Post injection “flare” or a transient worsening of pain and symptoms. This occurs in up to 25% of patients and can last 2-3 days. It is due to a local increase in inflammation as a result of the injection. Treatment is a combination of rest, analgesia (Paracetamol based pain relief) and anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS).
    • Atrophy (weakening and thinning) of soft tissues. This is due to the effect of the corticosteroid and can include thinning and loss of colour to the skin, thinning of fat beneath the skin, and tendon tear/rupture. This is the main reason for limiting steroid injections to once every 3 months and a maximum of 3 per year.
    • Temporary elevation of blood sugar levels (BSL) in diabetics.
    • Facial flushing

    Mammography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations sometimes identify abnormalities in the breast that cannot be felt by a doctor.

    If the abnormality is to be surgically removed, it is necessary to place a fine wire (called a hookwire), into the breast with its tip at the site of the abnormality. The wire acts as a marker during surgery and enables the surgeon to identify the correct area of breast tissue.

    Mammography, ultrasound, or MRI scans are used to guide the hookwire into the correct position. The wire is called a hookwire because there is a tiny hook at the end, which keeps it in position.


    A doctor’s referral and an appointment are required for this examination.

    Please also bring along your request form, any previous imaging, and your Medicare card/any concession cards to your appointment.

    Usually, this procedure will be performed a few hours before you have surgery. There is no preparation required for the hookwire localisation, but there will be preparation for the surgery that follows the hookwire localisation. Preparation instructions/information for the surgery will provided to you by your surgeon.


    Before the procedure you be asked to remove all jewellery and clothing from the waist up and change into a loose-fitting examination gown.

    The skin of the breast will then be washed with antiseptic before a very fine needle is used to give local anaesthetic to numb the breast in the area for biopsy. The local anaesthetic may sting for a few seconds when it is being given, and after this the area will become numb.

    The radiologist will then insert a fine needle into the tissue to be removed. Images will be taken to check the position of the needle, once it is in the correct position, a fine wire is passed through the centre of the needle and the needle is removed, leaving the hookwire in place. A final set of images will be taken to show the surgeon where the tip of the wire lies in relation to the abnormality that is to be removed.


    Following the hookwire placement, a piece of the fine wire will be protruding from the breast. This projecting wire will be taped down to the skin and the hookwire remains in the abnormality in the breast. The surgeon will remove the wire together with the abnormality at the time of the operation. Your previous imaging and the images from the Hookwire Localisation will be sent with you to the operating theatre so that the surgeon may refer to them.

    The purpose of the hookwire procedure is to provide a physical guide for the work of the surgeon. As it is not an investigation, there are usually no results for the hookwire procedure itself other than a written description of what was done and provision of the guidance images.

    After surgery, the surgeon will give you the pathology result for the tissue removed, when you have your appointment with the surgeon after the operation.


    Hookwire localisation is a simple procedure to perform, and most women will experience no problems. Problems that can occur on rare occasions are;
    • movement of the hookwire after placement and before surgery is performed (which reduces the accuracy of the surgery), and
    • Wire dislodgement. This occurs usually because the breast is composed of fatty tissue which provides a poor grip for the hookwire).

    If you are travelling to another facility for your surgery with a hookwire in position, you need to take care. Dislodgement may occasionally occur with very little movement. If dislodgement occurs, you may need to have the procedure repeated because the tip of the wire will no longer be situated in the lesion that needs to be removed.

Make an appointment online or call our dedicated bookings line