What is a SPECT scan

Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) uses a computer-aided gamma camera and the radionuclides of standard nuclear imaging to provide cross-sectional images similar to those of a computed tomography (CT) scan (Fig. 13-2). A SPECT study is more sensitive than planar scintigraphy in detecting lesions in the spine. It allows precise localization of spinal lesions to the vertebral body, disc space, or vertebral arch. SPECT scans are ideal for localizing spondylolysis and identifying small lesions such as an osteoid osteoma.

Figure 13-2. Cross-sectional single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) image at the L5 level showing increased uptake in the left posterior neural arch consistent with spondylolysis.

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