If your doctor needs to have detailed images of your brain’s blood vessels, they will likely refer you for a cerebral angiogram. This minimally invasive imaging test combines X-ray technology and contrast material to produce high-quality images of even fine blood vessels not seen on other tests. At Vascular and Interventional Partners in Scottsdale, AZ, we accept most referrals for a cerebral angiogram, including self-referrals.
What Is a Cerebral Angiogram?
A cerebral angiogram is an X-ray exam of blood vessels in the brain and neck. The procedure is more invasive than other types of brain scans, which is why doctors request them only when necessary. A cerebral angiogram can help confirm problems in brain blood vessels and is usually performed to:
A cerebral angiogram is usually performed by interventional radiologists and is available as an outpatient procedure. Most patients require only mild sedation to feel comfortable, although general anesthesia is used in some groups. The exam combines X-ray imaging, flexible catheters and contrast material, and can also be used for immediate treatment of vascular problems.
Benefits of Cerebral Angiography
While there are less invasive ways to image the blood vessels, cerebral angiography has many benefits not seen with other imaging tests:
- Detailed imaging — A cerebral angiogram produces the most detailed images of all major and minor blood vessels in the brain as well as brain blood flow.
- Alternative to surgery — Open surgery always carries significant risks of infections and other adverse events. This minimally invasive procedure can treat many problems non-surgical
- Outpatient procedure — Like most minimally invasive procedures, a cerebral angiogram is performed on an outpatient basis.
- Safer surgery — A detailed view of brain vessels and blood flow helps surgeons ensure greater precision during major brain surgery.
- Quick recovery — A typical diagnostic cerebral angiogram does not require long recovery, and most patients are back to their routine within a week.
Why Choose Vascular and Interventional Partners
At Vascular and Interventional Partners in Scottsdale, AZ, you will be treated by Arizona’s most respected interventional radiology division. Our board-certified doctors are all experienced in the most complex interventional radiology procedures, including cerebral angiography. Being leaders in minimally invasive procedures, our doctors have gained the trust of a wide network of referring physicians.
In particular, Dr. Nikhil Mehta is a highly trained neuroendovascular physician, performing hundreds of neurovascular procedures each year. His treatments include some of the most complex neurovascular interventions in the state of Arizona.
To ensure we maintain the highest level of care for our patients, our interventional radiologists are active members of the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) as well as the Outpatient Endovascular and Interventional Society (OEIS). We also employ physician assistants, nurses and technicians to help streamline patient care.
By choosing Vascular and Interventional Partners, you can rest assured you are in good hands. We will ensure you receive quick and personalized treatment. We also offer curbside drop-offs and pick-ups as well as concierge service to make your experience here as best as can be
Frequently Asked Questions
Are cerebral angiograms safe?
A cerebral angiogram is relatively safe. Research shows very low complication rates (less than one percent) with this procedure, including very small risks of stroke and bleeding. Although the procedure uses radiation, doses are typically very low and do not carry significant risk to a patient’s health. Some patients may develop allergic reactions to contrast dye, however this is also rare and is typically treated easily with medications.
Are there any side effects from a cerebral angiogram?
Like with any invasive procedure, cerebral angiography can cause side effects. The most common one is bruising at the treatment site where the catheter was inserted. Luckily, most patients experience only minor bruising. Some patients experience a headache following examination that can last for a couple of days.
When are cerebral angiograms necessary?
A cerebral angiogram is necessary only when your doctor needs detailed imaging of your brain’s blood vessels. For example, if an MRI or CT scan shows brain abnormalities, a cerebral angiogram can provide additional information to help establish a diagnosis. This test may also be necessary before certain operations.
How is cerebral angiography performed?
A cerebral angiogram is performed under local anesthesia and mild sedation, meaning you will be awake but relaxed during the procedure. Your interventional radiologist will make a small nick in the skin of your groin or wrist to insert the catheter. Using X-ray imaging, they will guide the catheter towards your neck arteries and release contrast dye. The dye will help the X-ray machine make clear images of all vessels in your neck and brain.
How do I prepare for a cerebral angiogram?
You will need to tell your doctor about any medication or supplements you are currently taking and disclose any allergies you may have. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant; most doctors will not perform X-ray exams if there is a chance of harming the fetus. You may need to adjust your medication according to your doctor’s instructions in the weeks before your appointment. Plan to have someone drive you back home on the day of your treatment.
What is the recovery like?
Immediately after your procedure, you will be taken to the recovery room where nurses will monitor your vitals and check for complications for a couple of hours. You will be discharged on the day of your procedure and be provided with instructions for at-home care. Avoid strenuous activities for the first three days and drink plenty of fluids to help flush out the contrast dye.
Are cerebral angiograms covered by insurance?
When medically necessary to diagnose or treat illness, a cerebral angiogram is fully covered by insurance. In other cases, you may need to pay a small amount (copay) to get a cerebral angiogram when you have health insurance.