SPECT SCAN DEFINITIONSPECT or single-photon emission computerized tomography scan is an imaging tool that allows doctors to see through a patient’s internal organs. While other imaging tools only show what the structures inside the body looks like, this 3D imaging technique can easily show how the organs work.
SPECT SCAN PURPOSEA SPECT scan is used to screen and monitor heart problems, brain disorders, and bone diseases. It does not only rule out a heart problem, its radioactive tracer can also highlight which arteries are clogged and which ventricle is pumping poorly. It does not only diagnose dementia, encephalitis, and other injuries but also determine which parts of the brain are being affected by the disease. It does not only diagnose bone cancer but also keeps track of its progression.
SPECT SCAN RISKSGenerally, undergoing a SPECT scan is safe. However, some people may have allergic reactions to the radioactive tracer. They may also experience minor pain and bleeding on the area where the needle is inserted.
Since SPECT scan uses an amount of radiation, it is not indicated for pregnant and lactating women. It also poses risks of the radioactive tracer being passed on to the developing fetus or the nursing newborn.
Image: SPECT SCAN
SPECT SCAN PREPARATION REQUIREDBefore a SPECT scan, you must consult your doctor regarding your medications and food intake that may affect the result of the test or heighten your risks for complications. Ask your doctor about specific instructions that you must follow to be safe rather than be sorry.
SPECT SCAN PROCEDUREIn a SPECT scan, you will be given a radioactive dye through injection and then, you will be subjected to a SPECT machine to scan a particular area in your body as needed.
SPECT SCAN COMPLICATIONSAlthough a radioactive dye is used for the SPECT scan, it does not pose a high risk of complications. The radioactive dye will leave your body through the urine. That’s why patients are instructed to drink more fluids afterwards. Whatever remains that was not flushed out of your body will be broken down the remaining radioactive tracer in two days or less.
SPECT SCAN SIDE EFFECTSThere are no known side effects of a SPECT scan other than the possibility of minor bleeding or throbbing in the site where the radioactive tracer is injected.
SPECT SCAN RESULTSThe findings of your doctor will depend on numerous images from your scan. By seeing how active or less active your brain cells are, for example, will help your doctor develop an effective treatment plan for it.