Interventional neuroradiology is an approach to diagnosing and treating vascular diseases of the nervous system with a less invasive, less painful type of surgery called "endovascular surgery". In endovascular surgery, a catheter is threaded through major blood vessels while the patient is under sedation or anesthesia. If the purpose of the surgery is to assist with diagnosis of a problem, the catheter is injected with a radio-opaque dye that allows the neurosurgery team to see detailed images. If the purpose of the surgery is to treat a condition, surgical devices are inserted into the catheter tube and manipulated by the surgical team.
Because endovascular surgery does not involve opening the body with a traditional, large incision, patients typically experience less pain and faster recoveries. Brain, neck, head, and spine tumors, as well as vascular malformations and other conditions, may be candidates in certain circumstances for interventional neuroradiology.