Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT)

Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) uses a radioactive material (tracer) and a gamma camera to scan the body. The type of radioactive tracer used depends on the part of the body being examined. The gamma camera rotates around the patient and takes pictures from many angles. 

A small amount of a radioactive tracer is injected into a patient’s vein and the scanner detects areas inside the body where the tracer is taken up by the cells. A computer uses data collected by the camera to construct two- or three-dimensional images. 

SPECT Aids Diagnosis

SPECT provides information metabolism in the body. It can help:

In the brain, SPECT can provide information on blood flow to show how regions of the brain are functioning, and identify brain abnormalities in people who have seizures. 

In the heart, SPECT can help detect regions receiving insufficient blood flow when under stress. In the skeleton, SPECT can help identify areas contributing to patients’ complaints of pain. In addition, some forms of bone cancer can be detected. 


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