Cerebral angiography, a minimally invasive imaging procedure, uses a small tube with contrast material and X-rays to examine blood vessel disorders in the neck and brain.

Considered the gold standard for imaging the tiny blood vessels of the brain and spinal cord, cerebral angiography provides higher resolution than CT and MRI.

Cerebral angiography also provides 3D images of blood flow in the brain or cervical vessels in the neck, and cross-sectional images of the brain.

Doctors can determine the best treatment for cerebral aneurysms and vascular malformations using minimally invasive endovascular or open surgical techniques. Use of the catheter allows us to combine diagnosis with treatment in one procedure, whenever possible.

The most common reasons for cerebral angiography include:

  • Brain aneurysm
  • Vascular malformations, a tangle of arteries and veins
  • Stroke
  • Carotid stenosis, a narrowing of the carotid arteries
  • Head trauma
  • Vasculitis, inflammation of the blood vessels
  • Moyamoya disease, blocked arteries at the base of the brain
  • Wada test for language and memory

During Cerebral Angiography

At University of Maryland Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, cerebral angiography is usually an outpatient procedure. We use fluoroscopy to guide a catheter through an artery in your thigh to the specific location in your brain, and inject dye through the catheter and make X-ray images. The procedure takes about 1–2 hours followed by 2–4 hours in recovery.

You'll receive care from an experienced team that includes interventional neuroradiology, endovascular surgical neuroradiology, a nurse practitioner, experienced nurses and neuroradiology technologists. Your care team is committed to providing the highest quality care.

Where to Go for Cerebral Angiography

Get maps and directions to our imaging locations.