I did cerebral angiography in May 2017 a week before biopsy. Here is some information through Q&A with me:
Q: What is cerebral angiography?
A: It is a X-ray test. It uses a contrast agent to provides images of blood vessels in and around the brain. Angiography will help doctor see a map of the blood vessels in the brain and also to detect abnormalities in the brain.
Q: Why you did angiography?
A: The doctor want to investigate the possibility of the lesion that grew in the pons, delicate part of brainstem, is an abnormal blood vessels (vascular malformation). Furthermore, for biopsy safety reason, angiography will help doctor to check the pattern of blood flow in to and surround the lesion.
Q: what happens during angiography?
A: I lie flat on my back on the X-ray table. Monitoring equipment are attached to my chest, arm and finger. The doctor cleaned my groin area using antiseptic and covered the rest of my body with sterile sheets. Then she gave me an injection of local anesthetic to the groin. It stings, then shortly became numb.
Then she inserted a fine needle followed with a catheter into a large artery in the groin and carefully thread it through the blood vessels until it reaches the vessels which supply blood to the brain. A contrast agent is then injected through the catheter.
Then the X-rays machine took series of images. After the X-rays are taken, the needle and catheter are withdrawn. After the needle out, the doctor press my groin for about 15 minutes to stop any bleeding. After that a tight bandage applied to my groin.
A: Less painful than imagined. It was quite an experience for me because I had it two times. The first attempt was failed. Not sure what went wrong, but it happens in the middle of the process of threading the catheter. I can feel it already reached somewhere in the chest area. Then I can tell from the doctor face that is problem. Suddenly I felt pain and I screamed. The doctor quickly injected me with something that makes me relax and guided me to breath. She said that she need to withdraw the catheter out. Thank God the second attempt was successful. It was not painful, but rather discomfort.
Q: Did it leave marks or other side effects?
A: I developed hematoma (bruise) that lasted for four months.
Q: How was the result?
A: It shows no AMV, so the lesion was suspected as a brainstem tumor. The doctor also found way to do the biopsy, avoiding blood vessels surround the tumor.