Duration: Three years DM course in Interventional Radiology, followed by one year of bond. Entrance through NEET Superspeciality examination.
No. of seats: 2 per year (Along with the DM trainees, there are also 1-2 IR fellows and 3-4 MD residents posted in Interventional Radiology at a given time)
Eligibility: MD/DNB Radiodiagnosis
Exams: Exams (Theory + Practicals) at end of each year. Final exam in June-July at the end of 3 years with both theory and practicals.
Thesis/Paper publication: Compulsory
Working hours and night duties: Interventional radiology in any institute is always going to be super busy, and Tata Memorial Center is no exception. 16-20 hours per day in 1st year. 14-16 hours daily in second year. 10- 14 hours daily in 3rd year. Night duty every alternate day or every third day.
There are 3 cath labs – 2 in the main TMH campus in Parel and 1 in ACTREC (Khargar). We also run 3 OPDs – 2 in the main TMH campus (one each for General and Private category patients) and 1 in ACTREC. Apart from these, we rotate in CT guided drainage and biopsy postings, and USG guided drainage and biopsy postings. The residents have weekly rotation in each facility. For example, the resident in cath lab would continue to be in OT each day of the week and the resident in OPD would see OPD patients for a week and complete pre procedure workup for patients posted for procedure next day in the cath lab. 2nd or 3rd year DMs who are posted in cath lab are the ‘informing residents’ for that week, which means, they are supposed to take morning and evening rounds, finalise the OT list made by the OPD resident, and inform the same to consultants in charge for their approval. There are weekly rotations in USG and CT guided procedure rooms as well.
In their third year, the DM residents are sent for observership in KEM Hospital for a duration of 6 months for exposure to peripheral vascular and neuro-interventions.
Hostel accommodation: Provided in campus.
Academic activities and multi-disciplinary meets: Academic session takes place on Saturdays, where a resident presents on a given topic and related cases for the benefit of other residents. The IR residents also attend the multidisciplinary meetings in hepatobiliary, pediatric, bone and soft tissue, neuroendocrine and retroperitoneal clinics.
Fees and salary: Fees is 1 lakh per year. Salary is Central Govt pay scale; currently between 80-90k per month.
More details about the course
Towards the end of 3 years of my training in Radiology, I had a weird feeling of lack of satiety, as I went through Radiology textbooks preparing for my MD exams. Something was lacking. I was quite intimidated by the wonders of Interventional Radiology in my PG days at KEM where I had the opportunity to closely look at the utility and techniques of IR. It was during my preparatory leave for MD exams when I heard about the possibility of 2 seats of DM in Intervention Radiology at TMH being approved for admission through NEET. I immediately knew that I wanted to do this, and decided to give it my best shot. The NEET exam was held in July, right after my MD theory exam, and no extra reading was required for it. So what followed was The Universal Law of Attraction – ‘You get it if you ask for it’. Despite so many people counselling me against it (they kept repeating about radiation exposure, spondylosis because of heavy lead gowns, long hours of standing and varicose veins or arguing about 4 years being a lot time of in a single institute dealing with onco-intervention primarily), here I am, now close to the end of my third and final year of the first DM batch of TMH Interventional Radiology. They were not completely wrong and I don’t know if my decision of joining the DM course was wiser than trying and getting experience at different institutes with different spectrums of IR in these 4 years, or not. But I do know for sure that the “lack of satiety feeling” is no longer there because the last three years were so full of seamless energy and fatigue, achievements and disappointments, living life and facing deaths, and challenging situations asking for a ‘YES’ or a ‘NO’.
Now coming down to some of the concerns that prospective applicants may have.
I would emphasise that the onco-intervention stream at TMH is exhaustive and ‘gold standard’, undoubtedly the best in India, with very good hands-on experience in most vascular and non-vascular procedures i.e. biopsies, drainages, PTBD, PCN, biliary and ureteric stenting, chemo-embolisation, radio-embolisation , emergency angioembolisation for bleeders, preoperative and serial embolisation of tumours, radiofrequency and microwave ablation of benign, primary and metastatic tumours in the lung, bone, liver and soft tissues, sclerotherapy, vertebroplasty and percutaneous gastrostomy. The only exception where there is less hands-on are few predominantly neuro procedures like intra-arterial chemotherapy for retinoblastoma in kids (for obvious reasons).
One must note, that there is a total of 6 months of observership at KEM Hospital for peripheral and neuro-intervention, which is good enough for learning about patient selection and management protocols; however there is not sufficient hands-on experience.
A big positive is that a lot of academic activity is encouraged. We attended most interventional conferences, participated in national level quizzes, and had the opportunity to give frequent presentations at national and international meetings (including funded international meetings).
At the end, I would say, friends make a ‘not all rosy’ life easier here with ‘green tea and black coffee’. And also, what makes TMH special, is the patient load and case variety. I am thankful everyday to the patients because of whom we learn so much.
– Dr Amrita Narang, MD Radiology, DNB, FRCR, 3rd year DM resident in Interventional Radiology, Tata Memorial Hospital