What is PET/CT?

PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and CT (Computed Tomography) scans are both standard imaging tools that physicians use to pinpoint disease in the body. PET scan demonstrates the biological function of the body, while the CT scan provides information about the anatomy’s size, shape and location. PET/CT scan enables physicians to accurately diagnose and identify cancer, heart disease and brain disorders.

Your PET scan will produce a picture of how your body’s cells are functioning, whereas, an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI produce a picture of bones, organs and tissues.

The PET/CT combines the two images. The PET image reveals the functioning aspect of the body part being scanned, while the CT image shows the anatomy. When combined together they are able to provide the Radiologist with a more complete picture of the area of interest. PET studies are normally done to detect malignancy in the body part examined.

Frequently asked questions:

What is a PET/CT used for?

A non-invasive test, PET scans accurately image the cellular function of the human body. In a single PET scan your physician can examine your entire body. PET scanning provides a more complete picture, making it easier for your doctor to diagnose problems, determine the extent of disease, prescribe treatment, and track progress particularly in cancer.

A PET scan can be used in early diagnosis, assisting physicians in determining the best method for treatment. A whole body PET scan may detect whether cancer is isolated to one specific area or has spread to other organs before a treatment path is determined. Tour PET scan will help you and your physician make a more informed decision about your diagnosis and treatment path.

How long will the PET/CT exam take?

PET scans are completely painless with no side effects. You will be instructed to dress comfortably. You may take your regularly scheduled medications prior to arriving for your scan, if they can be tolerated on an empty stomach.

Upon arriving to the PET scanner you will receive an injection of radioactive glucose (FDG), which will take approximately 45 minutes to distribute throughout your body. You will be asked to empty your bladder and then lie down on the scanner bed. The scan takes approximately 30-60 minutes, depending upon the type of scan you are having. It is important that you lie still during this process. Plan to spend approximately two hours at the PET center.

After your PET scan is completed make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to flush the FDG from your body.

Getting your results:

The PET scan is interpreted by our board certified Nuclear Medicine Radiologists and the results are usually sent to the referring physician shortly thereafter.

Our Team of Specialists:

Our board certified Radiologists are specially trained in Nuclear Medicine to diagnose and interpret the images. At MMCSC the PET/CT technologists are specially trained in the theory and practice of PET/CT procedures and operate the equipment used during the procedure. The technologists are board certified and the Radiology department at MMCSC is fully accredited by the American College of Radiology.

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