Postclipping cerebral angiography is generally not practised in the UK. The International Subarachnoid Trial (ISAT) data show that coiling compared favourably with clipping in the early posttreatment phase. We present a 4-year, single unit experience comparing cerebral angiography at 6 months postclipping and postcoiling, defining the proportion of aneurysms in either group, which were incompletely excluded from the cerebral circulation after treatment. There were 4 'dog-ear' remnants (4.6%) in the clipping group of 86 aneurysms, one of which required further surgery. Thirty-one out of 82 (37.8%) coiled aneurysms that underwent check angiography were inadequately excluded from the cerebral circulation at 6 months. Of these, to date, four patients have undergone re-coiling. Although the immediate complications of coiling may be less than those of clipping (ISAT), it seems that the degree and permanence of exclusion of an aneurysm from the cerebral circulation may be more secure with surgery. In summary, the rates of incomplete aneurysmal exclusion from the cerebral circulation, the requirement for reintervention and the requirement for continuing surveillance were all higher in the coiled population than in the clipped population.