What is the role of SPECT scanning in the workup of osteoporosis?

Updated: Jan 20, 2021
  • Author: Rachel Elizabeth Whitaker Elam, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scanning represents a tomographic (CT-like) bone imaging technique that offers better image contrast and more accurate lesion localization than planar bone scanning. It increases the sensitivity and specificity of bone scanning for detection of lumbar spine lesions by 20-50% over planar techniques.

SPECT scanning is helpful when accurate localization of skeletal lesions within large and/or anatomically complex bony structures is required. This localization is possible because SPECT can visualize bony structures that would overlap on planar images (eg, separating vertebral body, facet and pars interarticularis lesions).

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