A SPECT-CT scan is a technique of nuclear medicine that incorporates the images from two different types of scans. The scan can provide precise information on functioning of different parts of the body and identify issues more clearly.
A SPECT-CT scan consists of two individual components, a SPECT scan and a CT scan, where scanned images are fused together. The fused images provide more accurate information on the anatomy and functioning of the scanned area.
Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT):
SPECT images are obtained to determine the functioning of the specific area of the body. During the procedure, a small amount of radioactive material is to be injected which adheres to specific areas in the body based on the type of radioactive component used and the type of scan being performed. A special camera rotates in a 360-degree arc during the SPECT procedure, allowing the reconstruction of three-dimensional images.
Computed Tomography (CT):
CT images are obtained while the patient lies on the bed sliding through the scanner. The scanner rotates over 360-degree arc making it possible to recreate three-dimensional images representing the anatomical area being observed.
CT scans are obtained while the patient is lying on a bed that moves into an X-ray machine in the shape of a ring or’ donut.’ The X-ray machine rotates around the patient over a 360-degree arc, allowing three-dimensional images to be reconstructed. The CT scanner’s X-ray screen rotates much faster than the gamma image, so it takes less time for the CT part of the scan than the SPECT scan.
SPECT-CT has proved to be an emerging and beneficial technique in the field of oncology. This technology improves sensitivity and specificity and also helps in obtaining accurate dosimetric estimates in guiding interventional procedures in radiation therapy.
However, it has been observed that there is lack of correction of attenuation and direct correlation with other modalities due to increased use of SPECT. Such limitations are being negotiated through the evolution of SPECT-CT using Dual Head Gamma Camera which accelerated over the past few years.
What happens during SPECT-CT scan?
After verifying the details of the patient and the reason for the scan, the nuclear medicine therapist inserts an intravenous (IV) cannula into the vein (hand or arm). The radioactive material is injected through the IV cannula into the blood stream. The patient is advised to lie on a bed while detectors or cameras obtain the scan images. Hybrid SPECT-CT Dual Head Gamma Camera is used to provide the best imaging results.
The patient remains for at least 30–40 minutes in a ring-shaped scanner. The first 3–5 minutes are the part of the CT scan, with the remaining time is meant for the SPECT scan. It is very important that the patient stay still for the entire duration, so that the SPECT and CT can be paired together correctly.
What are the risks of a SPECT-CT scan?
At American Oncology Institute, we have a team of best cancer surgeons in India who are renowned in the field of nuclear medicine. We aspire to provide the best possible services with utmost care, ensuring the optimal performance of radiological procedures and precise interpretation of medical images.
At AOI, we digitally manage every part of the treatment cycle to provide our patients with the best, most comfortable and most consistent experience.
Unlike other units, American Oncology Institute at Baby Memorial Hospital is the centre of excellence for Nuclear Medicine providing hybrid SPECT-CT advanced imaging technique in Calicut.