SPECT scanning gives greater insight, especially in mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) – insight not obtained with a symptomatic evaluation alone.
Where MRI and CT show physical structures inside the brain, a SPECT brain scan produces images that show the activity in different places in the brain. A SPECT scan of the brain reveals where there is local overactivity and underactivity (1a). It also shows how the blood flows in the brain.
A mild traumatic brain injury is seen as low activity locally in the injured area. Without SPECT, people can, after a concussion, be left without help or with the wrong help.
Figure: Injuries seen as low activity around the brainstem and left temporal lobe. SPECT scanning provides greater insight into minor brain trauma, insight that cannot be achieved with symptomatic evaluation alone.
Comment: The “holes” in the image of the brain are not physical holes. They are areas of the brain with low brain activity, measured as blood flow.