Angiogram of the Head and Neck
An angiogram of the head and neck is an Reference X-ray Opens New Window test that uses a special dye and camera (Reference fluoroscopy Opens New Window) to take pictures of the blood flow in the blood vessels of the head and neck. An angiogram of the neck (carotid angiogram) can be used to look at the large arteries in the neck that lead to the brain. An angiogram of the head (cerebral angiogram) can be used to look at the veins or the four arteries (four-vessel study) carrying blood to the brain.
During an angiogram, a thin, soft tube called a catheter is placed into a blood vessel in the groin (femoral artery or vein) or just above the elbow (brachial artery or vein). See a picture of Reference catheter placement in the femoral vein Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window. The catheter is guided to the head and neck area. Then an iodine dye (Reference contrast material Opens New Window) is injected into the vessel to make the area show clearly on the X-ray pictures. The angiogram pictures can be made into regular X-ray films or stored as digital pictures in a computer.
An angiogram can find a bulge in a blood vessel (Reference aneurysm Opens New Window). It can also show narrowing or a blockage in a blood vessel that slows or stops blood flow. An abnormal pattern of blood vessels (arteriovenous [AV] malformation) or abnormal vessels near a tumor can be seen.
See a picture of the Reference blood supply to the brain Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window.
A Reference magnetic resonance angiogram Opens New Window (MRA) or Reference computed tomography angiogram Opens New Window (CTA) may be an option instead of a standard angiogram. Each of these tests is less invasive than an angiogram. Some MRA tests and all CTA tests require an injection of dye. A CTA also involves radiation exposure.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference December 5, 2010|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Howard Schaff, MD - Diagnostic Radiology