Neurointerventional Radiology & Surgery

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To find out more about neuroscience care and treatment at the Cottage Health's Neuroscience Institute (SBNI), or to request an appointment, please call our neuroscience care center at 1-844-282-7246.

Similar to techniques found in cardiac catheterization, neurointerventional radiology and surgery use minimally invasive procedures to diagnose, treat and manage vascular (vessel) disorders of the brain, neck and spine.

Advanced Technology & Interventional Specialists

When you choose the Santa Barbara Neuroscience Institute (SBNI) at Cottage Health, you gain access to some of the most advanced imaging and surgical technologies available to treat brain and spinal conditions and tumors. Often, these innovative approaches offer you benefits such as:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Less pain and scarring
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Faster recovery

3-D Images and Computer-Assisted Precision Navigation

During neurointerventional procedures, including surgery, neurosurgeons at Cottage Health use computer-assisted guidance, three-dimensional views and highly detailed images to precisely target and treat disorders or malformations in the brain or spine. Typically, treatment involves:

  • Clearing a blockage (embolization)


  • Closing a break (recannulization)

Intraoperative MRI—First in California

Intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI), a powerful imaging tool used in the operating room, helps neurosurgeons accurately distinguish between healthy tissue and diseased tissue. That means you’re assured of more precise tumor removal while you undergo the procedure. You’ll find the first iMRI in California at Cottage Health.

Awake Brain Surgery

In awake brain surgery, you receive local anesthesia, so you won’t experience pain during the parts of your procedure when surgeons remove/replace a small area of the skull for direct access to the brain. You’re awake for the remainder of the surgery, which allows members of your multidisciplinary clinical team to monitor your speech functions and reduce the risk of damage during the operation.

Biplane Angiography

At Cottage Health, biplane angiography—the only one of its kind on California’s Central Coast—uses detailed, multidimensional imaging and miniature tools to treat complex neurovascular conditions such as:

  • Arteriovenous malformation (AVM) – Tangled blood vessels or abnormal connections between arteries and veins
  • Cerebral aneurysm – Weakness in a blood vessel that allows a bulge to form
  • Stroke, including ischemic clots – Blocked or burst blood vessel in the brain
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage – Sudden bursting of a blood vessel in the brain

During the procedure, neurosurgeons thread a thin, flexible tube (catheter) from the groin to the brain, monitor its position through X-ray imaging and repair vessels inside the brain with special materials or stents.

MERCI Retrieval System

To remove blood clots in the brain that occur during ischemic stroke, your Cottage Health neurointerventional specialists may use the MERCI Retriever®, a minimally invasive, catheter-based system, to restore blood flow to blocked blood vessels.

During the procedure, neurosurgeons thread a thin, flexible tube (catheter) from the groin to the brain monitor its position through X-ray imaging, and remove the clot with the tiny MERCI tool.


A minimally invasive procedure, neuroendoscopy allows removal of a tumor in the brain or skull through a small hole in the skull or through the mouth or nose. An endoscope—a small, telescope-like device with a tiny video camera mounted on one end—allows neurosurgeons to use special miniature instruments to remove tumor tissue. Compared to traditional surgery, you benefit from:

Noninvasive Optimal Vessel Analysis (NOVA) gMRI

For fast, accurate information about the rate of blood flow within the brain, your Cottage Health doctors use NOVA qMRI—advanced technology available at only two other facilities in California and just 25 across the United States.

A quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (qMRI) procedure, the NOVA (Noninvasive Optimal Vessel Analysis) system allows Cottage neurointerventional specialists to see the effects of narrowed vessels (stenosis) and measure reductions in blood flow throughout the brain.

The NOVA system:

  • Allows 360-degree views of the brain
  • Calculates flow rate, velocity, flow direction and other parameters
  • Compares your condition before and after treatment to assess effectiveness and help your doctor make valuable recommendations for your care

You or a loved one may be a candidate for NOVA qMRI if your doctor recommends angioplasty or a stent, or if you experience any of these conditions:

  • Carotid stenosis – Narrowing of the carotid artery
  • Cerebral aneurysm – Weakness in a blood vessel that allows a bulge to form
  • Headache and dizziness
  • Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA/mini-stroke) – Blocked or burst blood vessel in the brain

Your doctor also may use NOVA qMRI to monitor your condition before or after a neurointerventional procedure.

Nova Flow Blood Vessels Flow Rate

Penumbra System®

Designed to dissolve large clots that can occur during ischemic stroke, the Penumbra System may be an option for your neurointerventional specialist at Cottage Health. Employing a special substance to break up the clot, this procedure uses guided imaging to monitor the position of a miniature catheter and a tiny tool that clears the clot and opens the blocked vessel.

Jessica's Return to Dance

Cottage Health Neuroscience Institute - Video GalleryWatch videos from patients, doctors and surgeons to learn more about the Cottage Health - Santa Barbara Neuroscience Institute

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