Background. Controversy exists concerning the use of preoperative imaging studies in patients with islet cell tumors. Since 1993 we have evaluated the use of provocative angiography in patients with insulinoma or Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZES). Methods. Twelve patients with a working diagnosis of insulinoma (n = 4) or ZES (n = 8) were studied. Of the eight patients with ZES, four were known to have multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1. All patients underwent conventional imaging studies followed by provocative angiography. Angiograms were graded based on the ability to detect tumor and regionalize it within the pancreas. Results. Of the three patients with a working diagnosis of ZES but equivocal results of biochemical studies, none had arteriographic imaging of an islet cell tumor or a positive provocative study result (true negative result). Of the nine patients with documented islet cell tumor, seven (78%) underwent arteriographic imaging of the tumor and eight (89%) had correct regional localization by provocative angiography. Sensitivity and specificity for imaging were 78% and 100%, respectively, and for regional localization 89% and 100%, respectively. Conclusions. Provocative angiography is the localization study of choice for both gastrinoma and insulinoma. Having few false-negative results, it can be used to corroborate the diagnosis and, having few false-positive results, it detects tumor and biochemically confirms localization in nearly every patient.