SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography) scan is a sophisticated nuclear medicine study of blood flow in the brain which provides evidence of brain metabolic activity. In a SPECT scan study, the patient receives an intravenous injection of contrast solution. The patient’s brain is then scanned by a computerized camera which rotates around the patient’s head taking x-ray type photos, much like a CT scanner. The multiple snapshots of the brain taken by the SPECT scan enable the radiologist to determine where the contrast solution has circulated in the brain and also allow him to “map” the blood flow and metabolism in various parts of the brain. This is important because we know that injury to the brain frequently affects blood flow and metabolism in the injured areas.
While MRIs and CT scans can show static images of the brain which can be useful in demonstrating significant bleeding or injury to brain cells, they are frequently not very sensitive in showing injury to brain cell axons or neurons which often occur in mild brain injury cases. Simply because the MRI or CT scan is “negative” for brain damage does not mean that injury has not occurred. The value of SPECT scans in diagnosing brain injury is that they can show how areas of the brain are functioning which MRIs and CT scans cannot.
If you have suffered significant head trauma which causes continuing symptoms such as memory loss, confusion, change in personality, etc., it is important to have your case evaluated by attorneys with significant experience in brain damage claims.