Sub-5 nm multimodal nanoparticles have great potential for theranostic applications due to their easy renal elimination combined with complementary imaging properties and therapeutic facilities. Their potential clinical use requires the full characterization of not only the nanoparticle but also all its possible degradation products. We have recently proposed new ultrasmall gadolinium-based nanoparticles for multimodal imaging and radiosensitization. The aim of this article is to describe an analytical tool to characterize degradation products in a highly diluted medium. We demonstrate that HPLC coupled to electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) can be used in order to determine precisely the composition of nanoparticles and their degradation fragments during aging.