Testing 3 – Up and Atom
The third scan I had was a SPECT-CT scan, in the hospital’s exciting sounding “Nuclear Medicine” department.
First up, a definition.
SPECT-CT combines the functional information provided by Nuclear Medicine imaging (SPECT) with the anatomical framework of the x-ray C.T. thereby improving the diagnostic precision of the area or organ being investigated.
I am not sure if this would be a common scan in the diagnosis of MS. Initially it was thought I might have a lymphoma on my brain, so this type of deep scan was to rule this out. At least I hoped it would be ruled out.
To begin, a radioactive tracer is injected and then it takes about 10 minutes for it to be absorbed. It is brought out in an ominous looking box marked with the radioactive symbol.
Next you lie on a flat bed and your head is clamped very firmly into position. Like an MRI, it is important to remain still but given how secured my head was, that would not be an issue.
From there a large camera is positioned close to your face and then rotates around your head, detecting the radioactive tracer. This process is quite slow, taking about 40 minutes for the camera to complete its rotation.
Once that is complete, a CT scan finishes the process. This was like my earlier CT scans and was both quick and painless.
Of all my scans, this was the least comfortable. It is not an enclosed machine like an MRI, yet I found this a far more claustrophobic experience. Perhaps it was a combination of how firmly my head was secured and how close the camera is. The camera rotation is slow, so it is a long time to be in that position.
I had no side effects from the scan. The radioactive tracer apparently leaves your body through urine. Disappointingly, the radioactive injection did not give me any superpowers. I was hoping for Spiderman but nothing. The Marvel movies have lied to me all these years!
As for results, the scan did not confirm my MS but did not flag up any of the more terrifying options of tumours or lymphoma. More investigation still required.