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Brain MR Angiogram (MRA) - About the Exam

Brain MR angiography (MRA) is a medical test that helps Mountain Medical radiologists diagnose medical conditions related to blood vessels in the brain. The procedure can help identify abnormalities, such as aneurysms, as well as arteriovenous malformation (abnormal communications between blood vessels) inside the brain.

MRA does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays). In MRA a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer produce the detailed images. The procedure may be performed with or without contrast material. If needed, the contrast material is usually administered through a small catheter placed in a vein in your arm.

What you can expect during a brain MRA:

  • You will be asked to lie on the moveable examination table.
  • Devices that contain coils capable of sending and receiving radio waves may be placed around or adjacent to the area of the body being studied.
  • You will be moved into the magnet of the MRI unit, while the technologist steps out of the room to avoid radiation exposure.
  • When the MRA is completed, you may be asked to wait until the technologist or radiologist checks the images in case additional images are needed.
  • MRI exams generally include multiple runs (sequences), some of which may last several minutes. The entire brain MRA examination is usually completed in less than 60 minutes once imaging has started.
  • An MRA is usually done on an outpatient basis.

Learn how to prepare for a brain MRA.

Learn the benefits and risks of brain MRA.