Cerebral angiography is a minimally invasive procedure where x-ray contrast dye is injected into the blood vessels of the brain and images are obtained. This medical imaging technique is the gold standard for detecting problems in the blood vessels of the head, neck, and spine.
Diagnostic images taken with cerebral and spinal angiography are most frequently used to identify aneurysms, vascular malformations, narrowing of blood vessels and vasculopathy. Angiography can be used whenever more specific diagnostic information regarding the blood vessels of the head, neck, and spine is needed than can be provided by non-invasive imaging, such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), etc.
Cerebral angiography is performed by neurointerventional surgeons. In addition to diagnostic imaging, neurointerventional surgeons can treat head, neck and spinal conditions from within the patient's blood vessels. For example, neurointerventional surgeons can place platinum coils in an aneurysm sac to help the body to heal the lesion, treat severe intractable nosebleeds, treat fistulas of the brain or spine, open a narrowing in the blood vessels with a balloon and/or stent, or they may be able to treat an acute stroke by infusing intra-arterial medications at the site of the clot or by using mechanical retrieval devices. Neurointerventional devices and techniques are rapidly evolving, and neuirointerventional surgeons are now able to treat many conditions that used to require open brain surgery or were previously untreatable.
Neurointerventional surgeons work closely with neurologists and neurosurgeons to determine the best treatment plans for patients. Treatment typically includes medical management, neurointerventional surgery, vascular neurosurgery or a combination thereof. Patients may subsequently be monitored with periodic angiograms and/or by non-invasive studies.
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