We have implemented a more accurate physical system representation, a strip-area system model (SASM), for improved fan-beam collimator (FBC) SPECT reconstruction. This approach required implementation of modified ray tracing and attenuation compensation in comparison to a line-length system model (LLSM). We have compared performance of SASM with LLSM using Monte Carlo and analytical simulations of FBC SPECT from a thorax phantom. OSEM reconstruction was performed with OS=3 in a 64×64 matrix with attenuation compensation (assuming uniform attenuation of 0.13 cm -1). Scatter correction and smoothing were not applied. We observe overall improvement in SPECT image bias, visual image quality and an improved hot myocardium contrast for SASM vs. LLSM. In contrast to LLSM, the sensitivity pattern artifacts are not present in the SASM reconstruction. In both reconstruction methods, cross-talk image artifacts (e.g. inverse images of the lungs) can be observed, due to the uniform attenuation map used. SASM applied to fan-beam collimator SPECT results in better image quality and improved hot target contrast, as compared to LLSM, but at the expense of 1.5-fold increase in reconstruction time.