Radiology

Brain Scan

SPECT Brain Scan
SPECT Brain Scan
Enlarge+
What is a Brain Scan?

What should you do prior to your child's exam?

What should you do when you arrive?

What should you expect during the exam?

What should you do after the exam?

Test Results

What is a Brain Scan?

A Brain Scan is a test that evaluates brain function and can also be used to detect seizure* disorders.

This exam requires the introduction of a radiopharmaceutical through an IV catheter.

*If your child is part of the seizure protocol study then they will be admitted as an inpatient by the neurology team and instructions, appointment times, and any other information you may need will be given by neurology.

What should you do prior to your child's exam?

This test does not permit any movement. Your child will need to hold still for about an hour. You may want to practice with your child.

If your child requires sedation you will receive additional instructions to follow.

Dress your child comfortably, in clothes that are easily removed. Your child may be given a gown to change into for the procedure.

You may want to bring a snack or drink for your child to have after the exam.

Note: Parents will be allowed to accompany the child into the exam room. It may be helpful to make other arrangements for siblings.

What should you do when you arrive?

You must check in to Outpatient Registration, on the third floor of the Main Hospital, 45 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment. This is where your registration process occurs.

The law requires that you bring a prescription from your doctor's office stating the exam to be done and the reason for it.

If your insurance requires a referral, it must be presented at the time of registration. Proof of insurance will also need to be provided at this time.

Once the registration process is completed, the Nuclear Medicine Department will be notified. A technologist or nurse will come out to the central registration area and bring you and your child to a room for IV placement.

What should you expect during the exam?

A technologist or nurse will place an IV in your child for the radiopharmaceutical injection needed for this exam. This IV tube will be placed in the child's arm, hand, or foot. Your child will only feel a little discomfort, like a mild pinch. Once the child has proper IV access, the procedure can begin.

The technologist will ask why the Brain Scan is being done, and explain the study to you and your child. The technologist will inject the tracer through the IV line. There is a minimum 30 minute period after injection that your child must wait before imaging can begin.

Imaging will begin anywhere from 30 minutes up to four hours after the injection is given. The technologist will instruct you and your child what to do during the waiting period. Your child will have to lie still during the imaging portion of the test for approximately 1 hour. A specialized holder is used to help keep your child's head still. This exam is performed using SPECT imaging. The camera will be brought in very close to the head and will slowly rotate around your child. The nuclear medicine physician may then require additional imaging, after viewing the initial images.

Sedation is an option for the imaging portion of the test for young patients and those unable to hold still.

Child Life Specialists are available to answer questions you might have about how to prepare and support your child during the procedure. A child life specialist can also be present at the time of your child's appointment to explain the procedure in developmentally appropriate ways using well established preparation materials. The specialist can also be available to help implement distraction techniques to help your child better cope with the stress of the hospital experience. Please call 215-590-2001 or click the link above for more information.

What should you do after the exam?

There are no special instructions for your child to follow upon completion of this procedure.

Test Results

The images from your child's exam are interpreted on the same day and a report is sent to your physician's office.

If your physician has any questions regarding the report, he/she may call 215-590-2584.

Here is an example of what your child's exam may look like.

  • Print
  • Share

Appointments