Neuroradiology is a subspecialty of radiology that specializes in diagnostic imaging of diseases of the brain, spine, and head & neck. Neuroradiologists spend one or two years in fellowship training after diagnostic radiology residency studying and imaging diseases of the central nervous system and soft tissues of the neck. This includes performing procedures such as lumbar punctures, myelograms, and cerebral angiograms as well as interpreting MRI and CT scans. The MCR neuroradiologists work with neurologists, neurosurgeons, otolaryngologists, and primary care physicians in evaluating patients with conditions such as stroke, brain tumors, back pain, and head & neck tumors.
Advances in CT and MRI technology have allowed neuroradiologists to evaluate the arteries of the neck and brain with non-invasive CT angiography (CTA) and Magnetic Resonance angiography (MRA) rather than catheter-based cerebral angiography in many cases.
Lumbar puncture is a diagnostic procedure used to sample the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). Neuroradiologists use x-ray guidance to safely insert a small-caliber spinal needle through the skin at the lower back into the CSF. Using x-ray guidance typically results in a quicker procedure with less patient discomfort compared to non-image-guided lumbar puncture. This procedure is used to diagnose infections, tumors, and conditions such as multiple sclerosis affecting the brain and spinal cord.
Myelography is a diagnostic imaging procedure that provides images of the spinal cord and its nerves. This is a two-step procedure: first a lumbar puncture is performed, followed by injection of a contrast agent (dye) into the cerebral spinal fluid through the spinal needle. The procedure is used to diagnose abnormalities such as a herniated disc, narrowing of the spinal canal, and tumors.