A PET/CT scan is a combined exam that includes PET (Positron Emission Tomography) with a CT (Computed Tomography). PET allows the physician to measure the body's cell activity in order to detect: CANCER - Breast, Colon, Lung, Lymphoma, Melanoma and many others BRAIN DISORDERS - Alzheimer's, Parkinson's Disease, epilepsy and tumors CT allows the physician to detect structures like organs in your body. Together PET/CT allows the physician to see structures and cellular activity in one image.
Will I receive an injection?
In order to see the activity in the cells, a radioactive sugar is injected into a vein in your arm. There are no side effects to this injection. Upon completion of this injection, you will remain in a quiet room for 45-60 minutes. During this time, the radioactive sugar collects into the active cells in your body. It is very important not to move during this "quiet time."
- Do not eat at least 4 hours prior to scan
- Drink oral contrast agent 1 hour prior to arrival. Mix with 16 oz. of cold water. Consult your physician about obtaining the oral contrast agent.
- DRINK water! You are encouraged to drink at least 3-4 glasses before arriving for your scan.
- Do not exercise
- If diabetic, please take medication in the morning. You may take all other medications as usual (unless required to take with food).
- Dress comfortably and warmly. Avoid clothing with metal zippers.
After your Scan
Once the scan is complete, you may resume your normal activities. There are no side effects to this study.
Your Scan Results
The PET/CT scan is interpreted by a trained radiologist and the results will be sent to your referring physician with in 24-48 hours. You should contact your doctor for the results.
What can I expect from a PET/CT Scan?
The healthcare professional will begin by asking you a series of questions about your medical history. Some of these questions may include:
- Are you pregnant or nursing?
- Are you diabetic?
- Are you claustrophobic?
- What is your height and weight?
- Are you on any medications?
- Have you had radiation therapy or chemotherapy in the past?
During the Examination
For the exam, you will lie down on the PET/CT table with your arms above your head. You will move through a circular (donut-like) machine. During the exam, the table will move in and out of the machine as the CT part of the study is being acquired. This portion will take approximately 2 minutes. You will then move further through the machine, where your head will be outside the back of the scanner. This is the PET portion of the exam and will take 20-25 minutes. You will need to be as still as possible during the exam. Any movement will show up on the fused images. A technologist can see and hear you throughout the entire examination.