Brain Aneurysm Diagnosis

If you have a cerebral aneurysm (also called brain aneurysm), you need immediate, expert care from a specialized group of physicians who work together as a team, including the option of a minimally invasive surgery.

At Fletcher Allen you have access to the highly specialized care provided by specialists and "sub-specialists." Sub-specialists are physicians with advanced training and expertise in a particular area, and are typically found only at a tertiary, or advanced-level care centers like Fletcher Allen – the only center of this kind in Vermont.

The sub-specialists involved in treatment of cerebral aneurysms at Fletcher Allen may include:

  • Neurologists with specialized training in stroke – Neurologists with advanced training in treating cerebrovascular disorders such as aneurysm and stroke.
  • Neurosurgeons – Surgeons with advanced, fellowship-level training in operating on the brain and nervous system. Neurosurgeons treat diseases and conditions affecting the brain, spine and spinal cord and the peripheral nerves – the nerves located outside the brain and spinal cord. They provide non-surgical and surgical therapies.
  • Neuroradiologists – Radiologists, or imaging specialists, with advanced training in neurology and imaging the brain. They prescribe and conduct tests to assess patients’ neurological symptoms.

Cerebral Aneurysm Diagnosis

Patients experiencing a ruptured aneurysm – often characterized by sudden, severe headaches, loss of consciousness or seizures – require immediate, emergency care.

If you have an existing cerebral aneurysm that hasn’t ruptured, or need diagnosis and evaluation of a suspected problem, you will be referred by your primary care physician to a neurologist or neurosurgeon.

At Fletcher Allen, our neuroradiologists (or brain imaging specialists) work closely with your care team. These professionals are specially trained in conducting brain imaging studies to detect a cerebral aneurysm.

Our neuroradiologists use a wide range of imaging technologies including diagnostic X-ray, CT or CAT scans, MRI, nuclear medicine and ultrasound. Patients have access to some of the highest levels of expertise and technology anywhere in the country. Our goal is to ensure a high level of accuracy in screening and diagnosis for you and your family.

Diagnosing Cerebral Aneurysm at Fletcher Allen: Specialized Vascular Imaging

Neuroradiologists determine the best imaging studies and diagnostic tests to assess your condition. The process of diagnosis may involve the following:

  • Computed Tomography (CT) scan – This test provides comprehensive images of the brain with a high degree of accuracy. CT scans produce detailed, two-dimensional images of the brain. We offer the most advanced CT technology available today, providing comprehensive images of organs within seconds with a high degree of accuracy.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – An MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce cross-sectional images of your body. Fletcher Allen offers the latest technology in Open MRI, offering a comfortable option for patients who prefer an open setting. In imaging cerebral aneurysms, a dye may be used to improve images of the blood vessels or the site of a ruptured aneurysm. This procedure is known as MRI angiography.
  • Cerebral Angiogram – A test that involves inserting a catheter into an artery in your groin and guiding it to the brain. A dye injected into the catheter travels to the blood vessels of the brain. X-ray images then can reveal the condition of your arteries. This can help detect the location and size of cerebral aneurysms.
  • Computed Tomography Angiography (CT Angiography) – This test uses the technology of a CT scan combined with angiography to create detailed images of the blood vessels in the brain.

Learn more about cerebral aneurysm treatments.

Find a Fletcher Allen Health Care physician or call 802-847-4590.