Understanding a SPECT Scan

SPECT scans are a powerful tool in medical imaging. They work like special cameras, capturing detailed images of the inside of your body. These scans give doctors a closer look at your brain and bones, revealing details that standard X-rays might not catch.

Your doctor relies on SPECT scans to understand a variety of health conditions better. These scans go beyond regular imaging, helping us dive deeper into diagnosing brain issues, bone problems, and other health concerns. 

Here, we'll look closer at how SPECT scans work and how they could play a vital role in your well-being.

What Is a SPECT Scan?

A SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) scan is a type of nuclear medicine imaging that uses a special camera to take detailed pictures of the inside of your body. 

Think of it as a powerful X-ray that helps doctors diagnose various health conditions by providing clear images of your internal organs, bones, and tissues. 

SPECT scans target brain and bone-related issues, helping healthcare professionals pinpoint, diagnose, and address specific medical conditions.

SPECT Brain Scan

A SPECT brain scan is used to assess brain function and detect abnormalities. It works by capturing images that show how blood flows and distributes in different areas of the brain.

During the scan, a small amount of radioactive substance, called a tracer, is injected into your bloodstream. This tracer emits signals that the SPECT camera picks up. As blood flows through the brain, the tracer travels along, highlighting areas with higher or lower blood flow. These areas indicate different brain activities or potential issues.

A SPECT brain scan helps doctors identify a variety of neurological conditions, such as

  • Seizures
  • Strokes
  • Dementia
  • Traumatic brain injuries

SPECT Bone Scan

A SPECT Bone Scan is an imaging test to see what's happening with your bones. 

During the scan, a small amount of a safe radioactive substance is put into your body through a vein. This substance travels to the bones and gives off signals that a special camera can pick up. It takes pictures that show how your bones are working and if there are any issues.

A SPECT bone scan can detect various bone problems like:

  • Fractures
  • Infections
  • Certain types of cancers in the bones

This scan is a valuable tool that helps doctors find out what might be going on with your bones, giving them a better idea of what treatment or care you might need.

How Long Does SPECT Imaging Take?

The duration of a SPECT scan varies. Generally, the procedure lasts around one to two hours, including the time it takes for the substance you receive to pass through your veins.

Once the imaging begins, it typically takes 30 to 60 minutes for the camera to take all the necessary pictures. However, more complex scans or those needing multiple images might take longer.

The exact time can depend on what part of the body is being scanned and the specific reasons for the test. Your doctor will discuss your particular treatment timeline before your scan begins. 

Where Can I Get a SPECT Scan?

You can get a SPECT scan at many medical centers or hospitals equipped with imaging facilities.  At Valley Radiology, our experienced team interprets SPECT scans as part of our comprehensive diagnostic imaging services for patients. To learn more, contact us today.