What does someone in interventional radiology (IR) do?
An interventional radiologist is actually quite different from the typical diagnostic radiologist. Although they undergo the same residency training (diagnostic radiology), an IR physician then receives special fellowship training focused on interventional procedures. This training lasts a minimum of one year, but in some cases may extend to two or three years, for further specialization or research. In IR, the focus is on performing procedures using imaging techniques rather than interpreting studies. An IR specialist can utilize a number of modalities, including ultrasound, CT, and fluoroscopy. Procedures can range from simple line placements to complex procedures involving delivery of therapeutics, long term implantable devices, or embolizations.
|Interventional Radiologists at work|
What are interventional radiology salaries in 2012?
As the economy has stagnated, the job market in radiology has also been affected. Although the effect is not as great in the broader market, the interventional radiology job market is certainly tighter than it was five years ago. Interventional radiologists still do quite well for themselves: the national range of salaries in 2012 is from $166,000 to $474,000 (25 - 75th percentiles). However, an individual interventional radiologist's salary depends on a variety of factors: training, years in practice, location, practice setting, partnership status. Depending on the location, an interventionalist in a high volume practice who is a partner can potentially make over $1,000,000.
Future trends for interventional radiologist salary
With health reform still on the horizon, reimbursement rates may change significantly. As a procedure-based physician speciality, IR is a likely area to see cuts. Given the stagnant economy, the short-term prospects for the field are basically flat. Still, as new treatments are developed, such as interventional oncology and interventional molecular imaging, there are areas for potential growth. Trainees will benefit from staying up-to-date on these rapidly evolving areas and potential future sub-specialties. By bringing a novel skill-set to a practice, a physician makes himself exponentially more valuable to a group, increasing both his likelihood of landing a position, making partner, and receiving higher compensation.
Current fellows looking for a new position as an interventional radiologist will likely have to be willing to take lower salaries initially. They will also likely to be asked to work in other practice areas, such as mammography. However, if this is an area that interests a radiologist, it remains a highly satisfying and highly lucrative career path.