PET/CT Scans

Positron emission tomography (PET) scans use radioactive tracers injected intravenously (IV) to obtain images of the human body’s function and reveal information of health and disease. The scanner records signals that the tracers emit as they journeys through the body and is collected by targeted organs. A computer then interprets the signals into images, which reveal biological maps of normal organ function and failure of an organ system.

This type of imaging is some of the most cutting edge available to diagnose of cancers and other diseases. PET scans are also utilized to examine the effects of cancer therapy by characterizing biochemical changes in the cancer. Brain scans can be used to evaluate patients who have memory disorders of an undetermined cause; who have suspected or proven brain tumors; or who have seizure disorders that are not responsive to medical therapy and, therefore, are candidates for surgery.

Advanced Medical Imaging’s state of the art, whole body, mobile PET is accompanied by a standard computed tomography (CT) scanner. Sometimes patients will receive both scans if a more thorough image is necessary.

What to Expect During PET/CT Scans

Patients should drink plenty of water and avoid all caffeine and sugar 24 hours prior to the exam. During that time, meals should be high protein and low carbohydrate with no strenuous physical activity. Nothing should be consumed 4-6 hours before the exam except for water and at least 24 ounces of water during that time is suggested.

Clothing should be free of metal in the region being scanned including metal buttons, zippers, or bras underwires/clips. Patients may also be asked to remove jewelry, hairpins, removable dental work, body piercings, or any other metal in the region being scanned. Patients may wear hearing aida, glasses or dentures.

 Patients lie on a table which moves slowly through the large opening of the PET scanner. Scan times vary depending on the region being assessed, but with registration, injection and scan times patients can plan on being at the office for 2 – 3 hours.

Patients can return to normal activities as soon as the scan is complete. The radiologist will determine if there are any abnormalities of the internal organs and bone structures. The radiologist’s interpretation will then be available to the referring physician 24 hours after the exam. The physician’s office will inform patients how to obtain their results.