Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) is a three-dimensional nuclear medicine imaging technique combining the information gained from scintigraphy with that of computed tomography. This allows the distribution of the radionuclide to be displayed in a three-dimensional manner offering better detail, contrast and spatial information than planar nuclear imaging alone.
SPECT machines combine an array of gamma cameras (ranging from one to four cameras) which rotate around the patient on a gantry. SPECT may be also combined with a separate CT machine in a form of hybrid imaging; single photon emission computed tomography-computerized tomography (SPECT-CT) mainly for the purposes of attenuation correction and anatomical localization 1.
Gamma cameras rotate around the patient providing spatial information on the distribution of the radionuclide within tissues. The use of multiple gamma cameras increases detector efficiency and spatial resolution. The projection data obtained from the cameras are then reconstructed into three-dimensional images usually in axial slices 1-3. When SPECT-CT is used, attenuation correction and higher resolution anatomical localization can be achieved 1.
- 1. Roarke MC, Nguyen BD, Pockaj BA. Applications of SPECT/CT in nuclear radiology. (2008) AJR. American journal of roentgenology. 191 (3): W135-50. doi:10.2214/AJR.07.3564 - Pubmed
- 2. Hutton BF. The origins of SPECT and SPECT/CT. (2014) European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging. 41 Suppl 1: S3-16. doi:10.1007/s00259-013-2606-5 - Pubmed
- 3. Tsui BM. The AAPM/RSNA physics tutorial for residents. Physics of SPECT. (1996) Radiographics : a review publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc. 16 (1): 173-83. doi:10.1148/radiographics.16.1.173 - Pubmed