How long does a Spect Scan take?
About 2 hours
What is SPECT brain
SPECT brain imaging is tomographic or rotational images, which show the
brain from several different angles.
Why do I need SPECT
You need SPECT brain imaging to help your doctor see blood flow to the
How do I prepare for my
SPECT brain imaging?
There is really no preparation for SPECT brain imaging. Some medications
may be given to patients who may be unable to lie still.
What can I expect
during the test? You
will be injected with a radiopharmaceutical one hour before imaging
begins. Next, your head will be positioned in a holder and strapped
across the forehead to help you hold it still. Your neck is flexed in
order to get the cerebellum included in the field of view. You will be
lying on your back for approximately 20 minutes.
What do I do after my brain SPECT imaging?
There are no special instructions after the imaging is completed. You
will get the test results from your doctor, or through a follow-up
appointment with Dr. Kohn.
PREPARATION FOR A SPECT BRAIN SCAN
Can I eat or drink before the
Yes! Brain SPECT
doesn't require fasting, special diets, or medication. If you're not in
the hospital, you can continue your regular work schedule and lifestyle.
Many people drive to the hospital or clinic, park, and walk in for the
brain SPECT scan.
What can I expect?
On the day of the exam
you will check in at the SPECT lab. The nuclear medicine technologist
will ask you some important questions, such as: Are you pregnant? Is
there any chance that you may be pregnant? Do you have a history of head
injury, seizures, or stroke? Next, the technologist will have you lie on
your back in a quiet, darkened room, which may or may not be the
examination room. An intravenous catheter or needle will be placed in a
vein in your arm or hand, and a radiopharmaceutical will be injected
soon afterward. You will then be asked to continue lying quietly for
another 10 to 20 minutes. When it is time for the examination, you will
lie down on the padded examination table. The SPECT camera, capable of
imaging the areas of your brain where the radiopharmaceutical has
accumulated, will be moved near your head.
For the activation scan,
intravenous catheter or needle will be placed in a vein in your arm or
hand, and a radiopharmaceutical will be injected soon afterward. You
will then be asked to complete a test on a computer. After the computer
test, you will lie down on the padded examination table. The SPECT
camera, capable of imaging the areas of your brain where the
radiopharmaceutical has accumulated, will be moved near your head.
Will I feel anything when the
drug is injected?
You will feel only a
small prick from the needle when it is placed in the vein. The injection
itself is painless if the needle is properly placed. Adverse reactions
to the radiopharmaceutical are very rare, and when they do occur,
usually involve only a mild, self-limited skin reaction such as a rash.
Is the radiopharmaceutical a
No, it is a radioactive
agent that will localize in an area of the brain and will be imaged with
How long will the exam take?
You will be imaged
shortly after injection of the radiopharmaceutical. Preparation may take
about a half-hour, and the SPECT imaging procedure takes about a
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PROCEDURE FOR A SPECT BRAIN SCAN
The SPECT camera will
take a series of pictures of your head that will show how well blood
flows through the various areas of your brain. The only noise you will
hear will be the mechanical rotation of the camera, which is only a
slight noise. There are no loud noises associated with the examination.
Will the SPECT camera touch
The camera will rotate
once around your head and may lightly brush against the tops of your
shoulders. Otherwise, no part of the machinery will touch your body.
Will I be enclosed in a small
No. However, the camera
will be close to your head throughout the exam.
What should I do during the
Simply relax, and
follow the technologist's instructions. Your only participation will be
to remain as still as possible during the exam and breathe normally. It
is very important for you to be comfortable before the scan begins.
Movement of the head while the pictures are being taken may require that
the scan be repeated. The technologist will keep you informed about what
is going on. Once the picture taking is over, you can relax, read, have
a cup of coffee. The technologist will process the pictures taken by the
Will I feel anything during
Not a thing... the
SPECT brain scan is painless.
Who will be with me?
A technologist will be
in the examination area, where he/she can constantly see and hear you.
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FOLLOWING THE PROCEDURE
How much radiation exposure
will I receive as a result of this exam?
The total body
radiation exposure from a SPECT brain scan is small - in the range of 1
to 3 times your annual exposure to natural background radiation.
When will I get the results
of my exam?
A report describing the
findings of your SPECT brain scan will be sent to you and your referring
provider, who will then contact you. If you are a patient of the
Kohn Group, Dr. Robert G. Kohn will meet with you to go over your brain
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