Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography

Also known as: SPECT, SPECT scan.

What is a single photon emission computerized tomography?

Single photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) is a nuclear imaging test that shows brain/other organ function by measuring blood flow in the brain/organ.

What happens during the procedure?

A safe, short acting radioactive substance is injected into a vein in your child’s arm and a CT (computed tomography) scan is performed shortly thereafter.

Is any special preparation needed?

The patient may need to avoid food, drink or medication for a period of time before the test. All jewelry or anything metal should not be worn during the test.

What are the risk factors?

While radiation is a small risk, the material injected is quickly removed from the body and the benefits of the study far outweigh any small risk present. Inserting a small needle into a vein can (but not usually) be associated with pain, bleeding, swelling, infection and other problems.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: March 04, 2021 11:34 AM

Children's Radiology

The Radiology facilities at Nicklaus Children’s are specifically designed for the comfort and diagnosis of infants, children and adolescents.

Learn more

Upcoming Events

3rd Annual Vascular Birthmarks Meeting - A Virtual Event

Date: Saturday, November 13, 2021

Learn more about the diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of vascular birthmarks in children and adolescents. Learn more.

Register Online

Learn more about

CT Scan (Computed Tomography)

Computed tomography is a medical imaging test that can be used as a diagnostic tool for a wide variety of medical conditions. It involves taking pictures of sections or slices of the body, layer by layer, to get a complete picture of an area of the body. Learn more

Bone Scan

A bone scan is usually used to assess pain, fractures, infection, or tumors of bone. A radioactive medicine is injected into a vein and then images are taken with a special camera, called a gamma camera. Learn more