Brain Scans - UCSF Medical

Neuroradiology focuses on imaging and therapies to diagnose and to treat disorders of the adult and pediatric brain, spine, neck, and central and peripheral nervous system. The UCSF neuroradiology group is comprised of internationally recognized experts in every one of these disciplines, and in the latest state-of-the-art imaging with CT, MRI, MEG and molecular modalities such as PET. The group has expertise in the full array of neurologic disease, including brain tumors, stroke and other vascular disorders, spine disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and brain malformations. With 12 full-time neuroradiologists across our campuses, we are one of the largest divisions of neuroradiology in the United States.

Adult and Pediatric Neuroimaging

Neuroradiology brain and spine images

Our subspecialists are among the nation’s most prominent experts in: 

  • Brain tumor imaging and brain MRI
  • Ear, nose and throat (ENT) and neck imaging
  • Epilepsy Imaging
  • Stroke and vascular imaging
  • Functional MRI and magnetic source imaging
  • Magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy
  • Imaging of neurodegenerative disorders
  • Central nervous system trauma (head/spine injuries)
  • CSF leaks
  • Pediatric disorders of brain and spine development
  • Spinal pain diagnosis and non-operative therapies such as epidural injections
  • Interventional angiography
  • Fetal MRI and pediatric MRI

Neuroradiololgy Expertise

Patients are referred to UCSF neuroradiology from all over the world. Each year we perform and interpret over 14,000 CTs, 22,000 MRIs, 250 myelograms, more than 1,000 diagnostic angiograms, over 650 interventional procedures, and more than 500 spinal procedures including biopsies, nerve root block, epidural injections of steroids and specialized procedures including vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. For example, we offer special expertise and apply advanced cutting edge MRI techniques for the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with brain, skull base and ENT tumors, traumatic brain injuries, the range of pediatric brain and spine disorders as well as for patients with spine related pain. Because we perform an unusually high number of procedures each year, referred from a variety of specialists, we have gained enormous clinical and scientific expertise. That expertise leads to more precise diagnoses and better clinical judgment and skill.  It also directly facilitates our ability to help patients and their doctors by sharing our skills in “seeing,” detecting, and treating abnormalities. This allows us to provide informative consultations to referring physicians and to suggest proper interventions.

Collaborative Approach

At UCSF neuroradiology we foster close collaboration with the physicians who refer to us: experts in Adult and Pediatric Neurology, Neurological Surgery, Pediatrics, Oncology, Otolaryngology, Primary Care/Internal Medicine, Orthopedic Surgery, and Radiation Oncology. We regularly work with physicians in the greater community as well as with physicians at UCSF. We also discuss difficult patient issues at a variety of multidisciplinary conferences with treating physicians, which allows us to recommend the best care plan to our patients.

Precision Spine and Peripheral Nerve Center

UCSF neuroradiology also directs the UCSF Precision Spine and Peripheral Nerve Center, where UCSF neuroradiology experts in spinal disease are using advanced imaging tools every day to better diagnose and treat spinal and peripheral nerve disorders and address patient pain in the legs, back, neck and arms. These minimally-invasive treatments such as facet injections or CT nerve block can offer an adjunct and/or alternative to surgical treatments that can afford significant pain relief, return of function, and quality of life. Doctors in and outside of the bay area frequently refer patients with low back or buttock pain or those suffering with pain in the neck so that we can accurately identify the root causes of the pain using imaging and simultaneously treat the pain using image-guided technologies.

Fetal Brain and Fetal Spine MRI Experts

Fetal MRI - UCSF Medical

UCSF pediatric neuroradiology is internationally recognized for expertise in fetal neuroimaging. UCSF was one of the first sites in the United States to perform fetal MRI, and remains one of few radiology imaging departments in the country with extensive experience performing and interpreting complex fetal MRI. UCSF neuroradiologists have performed more than 2,700 fetal MRIs since 1996.  We serve patients in the Bay Area, as well as from around the globe. We employ specialized MRI scanner software for fetal MRI that results in improved image quality, faster scans and more precise diagnoses. Expert MR technologists, experienced in imaging pregnant women, strive for excellence and aim to provide a comfortable, safe experience for the patient during the examination. Our neuroradiologists have also helped to train many other radiologists in performing and interpreting fetal MRI around the world.

Neuroradiology Advanced Techniques and Technologies

At UCSF we have the highest quality imaging equipment and use the appropriate one for the task at hand in order to achieve crisper, better, more detailed, higher resolution images for patients.

High Field, High Resolution MRI

Over recent years, high field, high resolution MRI scanners (3T and above) have become increasingly widespread due to clear advantages such as more accurate detail, higher resolution, crisper images that allow an experienced physician radiologist to better see and diagnose and thus appropriately contribute to treatment for patients with an even higher level of confidence.  Learn more


Combines two imaging techniques to provide functional and anatomic information particularly useful for oncology diagnosis and cancer staging.  Learn more

64-slice CT and CT Angiography

These scanners have the latest low radiation CT and Adaptive Statistical Iterative Reconstruction (ASIR) software for a wide range of disorders. With investments in software and UCSF tailored protocols, we have reduced radiation dose to patients by 80%.  Learn more

MR neurography, also known as MR Imaging of Peripheral Nerves

Useful for a wide range of nerve disorders ( nerve pain treatment, nerve root compression, nerve injury, trauma) in nerves of the neck, arms, legs and back to locate site of pain and recommend/provide treatment. Learn more

Coronal MR - UCSF Medical
Coronal MR of left sciatic nerve tumor (arrows).

CT-Guided Spine Procedures for Spinal Stenosis or Nerve Injury

Useful for pain intervention for spinal stenosis or nerve injury including epidural and selective nerve blocks, sympathetic ganglion block, facet injections, and radiofrequency ablations of facet syndromes.  Learn more

CT-Guided Epidural Blood Patches

Useful for chronic and acute CSF leaks (spinal fluid leaks).

Kyphoplasty, Vertebroplasty and Sacroplasty

Helpful in treating fractures and providing pain relief at the site of fractures or compressions.  Learn more

Myelography and Lumbar Puncture with X-Ray or CT Guidance

Helpful for revealing conditions such as spinal tumors, spinal cord swelling and herniated (slipped) disks.  Learn more

Spinal Biopsy

Useful in diagnosing spinal lesions. Learn more

Spinal Tumor Ablation

A technique to provide a minimally invasive metastatic spinal tumor treatments – using radiofrequency (RF) ablation therapy.

MRI CSF Flow Study

Utilize to help diagnose unexplained headaches, tinnitus, dementia, urinary incontinence, balance issues, cognitive defects due to head trauma, tumors, hemorrhage, infections or stenosis.


Associate Professor
Division Chief, Neuroradiology
Assoc Professor Clin Radiology
Assistant Professor
Asst Professor in Residence
Professor, Vice Chair for Education
Program Director, Diagnostic Radiology Residency
Associate Program Director, Integrated Interventional Radiology Residency
Professor in Residence
Professor Emeritus
Prof of Clinical Radiology
Executive Vice-Chair
Medical Director for Ambulatory Imaging
Professor & Vice-Chair
Alexander R. Margulis Distinguished Professor and Chair
Professor and Chair
Assistant Professor
Asst Prof Clinical Radiology
Vice Chair, Academic Affairs
Prof of Clinical Radiology
Director of Pediatric Neuroradiology
Professor Clinical Radiology
Associate Professor
Director, Neuroradiology Fellowship Program
Asst.Professor Clin. Radiology
Director of Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Disease
Associate Professor
Director, IT, ZSFG
Co-Chair, Residency Selection Committee
Assoc Professor Clin Radiology
Assistant Professor
Asst Prof Clinical Radiology
Assistant Professor
Associate Director, Neuroradiology Fellowship Program
Asst Professor In Residence
Associate Professor
Associate Professor
Associate Professor
Director of Clinical Operations, ZSFG
Associate Residency Program Director
Assoc Prof Clinical Radiology
Associate Professor
Vice Chair, Quality and Technology
Assoc Professor Clin Radiology
Associate Director Clinical Scientists T32 Training Program
Lead of Chemistry, Probes, and Molecular Therapy (CPMT)
Professor in Residence
Professor in Residence