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"Can a SPECT detect brain disorders?"

ZocdocAnswersCan a SPECT detect brain disorders?


I am a 28 year old male. Of late, I've had trouble functioning. My doctor wants to do a SPECT because he thinks there's something wrong with my brain. Is this necessary?


SPECT stands for single - photon emission computed tomography. This a very specialized type of brain scan in which certain radioactive particles are injected into the blood stream and then their accumulation in the brain is detected with a camera. The way the particles distribute in the brain can provide the doctor with information about global brain functioning. This type of SPECT imaging has been used to help in the diagnosis of certain types of brain tumors, dementia, and epilepsy. That being said, SPECT scans are not in any way standard practice for working up neurological symptoms. They are difficult to interpret, and results that are obtained do not always have obvious clinical utility. This is in contrast to more standard brain imaging techniques like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). If you have not done so already, the first step would be to have a detailed physical examination and interview with a neurologist. They will help you determine what are the likely possibilities and will help guide you in choosing appropriate diagnostic techniques, such as laboratory studies and brain scans. I would definitely not get a SPECT scan before doing then and before having already had more standard tests done such as a brain MRI.

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