Angiography may be useful in detecting vascular lesions causing focal or bilateral cerebral dysfunctions, subcortical dysfunctions, or brain stem or spinal cord abnormalities. Abnormal size and contour of the lumen, abnormal distribution of vessels, and abnormal sequences of vascularization (early or late) can be seen. Additionally, displacement of vessels by extrinsic lesions can be detected along with endovasculization from tumors. In the section that follows, angiography is discussed in relationship to diagnosis and management of patients with ischemic brain disease, intracranial aneurysms, vascular malformations, and neoplasms. Although intracranial masses and their mass effects classically distort the cerebral vasculature, the primary diagnosis of intracranial masses has shifted to CT and MRI and is not addressed in this section. Angiography is not currently useful in the evaluation of peripheral nervous system or neuromuscular diseases.
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