Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT/CT)


Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) illustrates different functions in the body while combining CT (Computed Tomography), which shows detailed structural anatomy, into one scan. This state-of-the-art technology allows our medical team to see highly defined 3D images made inside the body. This helps determine a tumor’s function status, and pinpoints the exact location, size, nature, and extent of the disease. Common cancers that SPECT can detect include thyroid, endocrine, blood cancers, prostate, pancreatic and lung. SPECT provides our medical team with tools to make an accurate diagnosis and earlier detection of  cancers that are difficult to diagnose through traditional scans and medical examinations.

How Does It Work?

SPECT gives information about abnormal or cancerous cells in the body that are not available with other imaging methods like x-rays, CT, MRI or even PET. SPECT scans measure biologic functions in the body that enable the image to show cellular activity combined with CT scan that shows anatomical details. Together, they provide valuable information that will assist our team with making a diagnosis and treatment plan.

How Should I Prepare for My Exam?

SPECT does not always require fasting, special diets, or medication. For most tests, you can continue your regular work schedule and lifestyle. During a SPECT exam, imaging agents (radiopharmaceutical) are administered to the patient, usually by injection. They accumulate in the organ or area of the body where cancers may form. Radioactive emissions from the agents are detected by a special camera or imaging device called a gamma camera. This differs from x-ray or CT examinations where the radiation comes out of a machine and passes through the patient’s body. The whole process takes 30 to 40 minutes.