by Michael Jubinville, MPH
A cerebral angiogram is a type of x-ray. A dye highlights the blood vessels in the brain. The dye can also show the flow of blood.
Reasons for Procedure
The x-ray checks for problems with blood vessels such as:
The test can also:
Problems are rare, but most tests have some risk. Your doctor will review problems that may happen, such as:
The risk of problems is higher if you:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Leading up to the test:
Tell your doctor if you are or may be pregnant. The dye may be harmful to your baby.
Local anesthesia will numb an area where the needle is placed.
Description of the Procedure
A cut is made in the upper leg or wrist. A thin tube is passed through the cut into a large blood vessel. An x-ray machine will send constant images to a monitor in the room. The doctor will be able to see the tube and nearby blood vessels. The tube is passed through blood vessels to the area in the brain that needs to be checked. A dye will be released through the tube. It will highlight nearby vessels. The doctor will also be able to see where blood is flowing or blocked.
When the doctor is done, the tube is taken out. Pressure is applied to the area until it stops bleeding. A bandage is placed over the cut.
How Long Will It Take?
1 to 3 hours
Will It Hurt?
You may feel:
You will have some soreness for a few days after the procedure.
At the Care Center
You will have to lie flat for a few hours. The care staff will help to manage pain and watch for problems until you can leave.
During your stay, the care team will take steps to lower your chance of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
Most can return to a normal routine the day after the test.
Call Your Doctor If Any of the Following Occurs
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Stroke Association
Society for Vascular Surgery
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Cerebral angiogram. Beaumont Hospitals website. Available at: https://www.beaumont.org/treatments/cerebral-angiogram. Accessed July 20, 2020.
Cerebral angiography. Patient website. Available at: https://patient.info/brain-nerves/cerebral-angiography. Accessed July 20, 2020.
Cerebral angiography. Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at: https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=angiocerebral. Accessed July 20, 2020.
Cerebral (brain) angiogram. NYU Langone Health website. Available at: https://med.nyu.edu/radiology/about-us/subspecialties/neuro-interventional/our-services/patient-information-brain-angiogram. Accessed July 20, 2020.
Last reviewed July 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 7/20/2020
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.