Your doctor has ordered a SPECT-CT (single photon emission computed tomography) scan. This is a nuclear medicine exam in which a radiopharmaceutical will be injected and images will be obtained. This study combined two types of scans - a nuclear medicine scan and a CT scan. The images from each are fused together to create exceptional detailed images.We have state of the art equipment.
There is usually no preparation for this test. Women who are pregnant or breast feeding should consult with their physician before having this exam due to the radiation from the exam.
A small amount of radioactive tracer is injected by the nuclear medicine technologist. You will then have to wait for the drug to circulate in your body before the scan can be done. You will be positioned in a circular scanner. It is important to remain still during the scan so that accurate images can be obtained. The CT part of the scan is a non-diagnostic scan that uses much lower radiation than a diagnostic CT scan. This is used to make the SPECT scan more accurate. You may leave immediately after the exam but it is recommended that you drink additional fluids for the remainder of the day.
The radioactive tracer is absorbed by your body and binds to an area of interest. The images will show the exact location of an area of concern, its relationship to nearby structures, and its function. This will provide an earlier diagnosis and treatment. The exam is also used to visualize brain disorders, blood flow in your heart, cancer progression, infections, and bone healing.
The SPECT-CT exam involves exposure to radiation. It is typically equivalent to the amount of radiation received by an average person in the United States in 2-3 years from natural background radiation, such as naturally occurring radioactivity in the soil, radon gas, and cosmic radiation. Any risk from this small amount of radiation is too small to be measured directly and is small when compared to other every day risks.
A physician who specializes in nuclear medicine will interpret your exam and send the result to your physician.