What is PET/CT?
PET/CT is an advanced imaging test that offers information on both tissue metabolism and structure that is not attainable using other conventional imaging procedures.
Using a small amount of radioactive tracer, PET/CT is often used to distinguish between healthy and abnormal tissue such as in cancer. Because PET/CT is able to pinpoint molecular activity throughout the body, it has the potential to identify cancer at its earliest stages.
PET/CT can provide an earlier assessment of chemotherapy or radiation therapy effectiveness and can improve detection for tumor recurrence.
PET scans are also commonly used to evaluate the brain of those who have memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
How to Prepare?
For the 24 hours prior to the exam avoid: alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and any rigorous exercise. Follow a low carbohydrate diet. For the 6 hours prior to your exam, do not eat or drink (other than water). Take all your prescribed medications as directed. Drink plenty of water the day before and after the exam.
For diabetic patients only, eat a small meal 6 hours before your exam and do not give yourself an insulin injection within 12 hours before your exam.
If you have had any prior (PET/CTs, CTs or MRIs) at another facility, please bring them with you on the day of your appointment.
You should wear loose, comfortable clothing, avoiding garments that have zippers, belts or buttons made of metals. You may be asked to wear a gown during the exam.
Women should always inform their physicians and the technologist if there is any possibility of pregnancy.
What to Expect?
After registration and preparation for the procedure, you will be injected with a radioactive tracer by the technologist. Once injected, you will be asked to rest in a quiet room for approximately 45 minutes while the tracer distributes throughout your body and is processed by the organs being evaluated. The technologist will then comfortably position you on an exam table which will pass slowly through the PET/CT scanner. Depending on the type of exam, the scan time is typically completed in 45 to 60 minutes. In total, please plan to stay at our office for at least two hours.