Cerebral Angiogram

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A cerebral (brain) angiogram produces an angiogram or an X-ray your blood vessels. Your neuroradiologist injects a chemical into your blood vessels that makes them easier to see on an X-ray.

Cerebral angiograms help:

  • Identify narrowed, enlarged, and blocked blood vessels
  • Determine if there’s blood leaking out of the vessels and into other parts of your body

In some cases, your doctor can treat a blocked blood vessel during the procedure. 

What Happens During a Cerebral Angiogram 

Your doctor makes a small incision into your skin and places the catheter through the incision into an artery. Your doctor guides the catheter through the arteries to the area for examination. Contrast material helps your doctor view the procedure on a nearby monitor and take X-rays. Once your doctor removed the catheter, he or she will apply pressure the area for about 10 minutes.

The procedure can take as little as an hour, but it depends on whether your doctor decides to fix any problems at the same time.

Although the procedure is not painful, you may feel the following discomfort:

  • Brief sting during the local anesthesia injection
  • Pressure during insertion of the catheter
  • Hot and flushed sensation during the injection of the contrast material

After Your Cerebral Angiogram

Immediately following the procedure:

  • You’ll need to lie flat for a period of time. The length of time depends on your overall health and the reason for the exam.
  • You may need to have pressure applied to the entry site to control bleeding.
  • Tell the nurse if you notice any swelling, bleeding, black and blue marks or pain near the catheter site.
  • Drink fluids to flush the contrast material from your system.

Your doctor examines the X-rays and will discuss the findings and any necessary treatment options with you.

View Your Angiogram Results

Have you had a cerebral angiogram at UVA Health?

See your imaging results and scans online using MyChart.