Sunday, March 17, 2013

SPECT Bone Scan photo / video radiation levels report.

Radiation Levels at SPECT Bone Scan.

My small photo/video report about Bone SPECT Scan I did today. The examination was done in  Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital (Jerusalem). I was injected with radioactive isotope of Technetium-99m and after 3 hours my body was scanned with Gamma Camera. I have my DIY Geiger Counter in my bag and I did some radiation levels logs. Right after the injection my body produced about 20K-25K CPM (100uSv/h average) at 1 feet distance! The radiation level goes down after several hours, but even after 7 hours is stay hot.

You can find more technical info about Geiger Counter Hardware and Logger Software at: 

10 minutes after the injection. 

1 hour after the injection. Radiation level depend on the distance from my body. At 10 meters I registered about 90 CPM and at 30cm (1 feet) is very high (17K-20K CPM!) I drank a lot of water to allow the isotope to spread over the body. I mute the buzzer sound because the dosimeter "goes crazy" and may disturb the hospital workers and visitors.  

After several hours the scan was done all my dosimeters at home still detect high levels at 1 meter from me. I will attach logs files. You can open it to see the graphs with "Radiation Logger" Software or with any csv files editor. I used my phone to create this videos that's why it has low resolution quality.

The graph log screenshot: You can see the difference in CPM readings depend on the distance I marked. Download logs files

And some Hadassah Radiology Hospital photos:

Update 18/03/13:
30 hours  from the injection of the Technetium-99m and my body is still produce gamma radiation. Log file attached. During the day I felt weak and mild nausea.

Regards the Wikipedia all total radiation dose I received is about 10mSv (30mCi or 1000mrem or 500 chest X-Ray). Its probably may affect my blood count but to check this its necessary to do a blood test.

I asked the technicians who did the scan if the radiation dose from this medicine examination is high or low and they said it's not significant total dose, but it seem not to be like that (regards the CPM readings I got)! Its not seems to be low level also because all radiation detectors around goes crazy from 5 meters distance. Probably the technicians were instructed not to cause panic among patients. 


  1. Hi there, i just wanted to add 2 comments. First, the radiation dose is quite low compared to other types of scans. Much lower than a CT scan or even some Xrays. The important thing is also that if you have 3 xrays, that's 3 times the dose! You could have 100 images taken as part of your bone SPECT and the dose would not change. So the workers were not lying to avoid panic, it really is a low dose. Most medical images are done using the attitude of getting a good image to diagnose an illness using radiation "as low as reasonably achievable".

    Second, the water that they asked you to drink was to help flush excess Technetium out of your body, not to help spead it around. The drug that makes this radiation go to your bones is excreted by your urinary system so lots of water helps flush it out.

    Nice project!

    1. Thank you for comment. You are right, CT scan is much more radioactive.