Sufficient blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain is critical to good health.  To assess the health of your vessels and the blood flow to your brain or neck one of our neurosurgeons may request and angiogram.  Essentially an angiogram is a test that involves inserting a special dye via a catheter into your groin or arm into the vessels of the neck or brain and taking images of the vessels and blood flow.

  • Cerebral Angiogram: Assess blood flow and vessel health in your brain.
  • Carotid Angiogram: Assess blood flow in the arteries of your neck.

Why do an Angiogram

The health of the vessels  and blood flow in the neck and brain may help your neurosurgeon assess the risk and subsequent treatment of stroke, aneurysms, tumor growth or arteriovenous malformations.

  • Detect blockages or narrowing in vessels
  • Detect or assess an aneurysm:
  • Detect abnormal blood vessel patterns
  • Assess blood flow pattern or leaks

The Test

A standard angiogram involves inserting a small catheter into the groin or arm.  This catheter is then carefully guided up to the brain or neck.  A special dye (iodine) is then injected through the catheter to the vessels being assessed.  As the dye travels through the vessel a number of images are taken.  Once the radiologist has the images they need the catheter is gently removed and pressure is applied to the insertion point to stop any bleeding.

Standard angiogram uses x-ray imaging.  Alternatively a magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) or computed tomography angiogram may be utilized.

Your neurosurgeon will take into account a number of factors including your health and the angiogram results to determine the best treatment for you and discuss with you your options and any risks involved.  Our NeuroTexas neurosurgeons are extensively trained to treat aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations and brain tumors.

Content adapted from Medtronic Catalyst patient education

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