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PET/CT Imaging

A powerful tool in disease detection and treatment planning.

PET/CT exams help show changes in your body during the early stages of a disease. At this time, PET/CT is one of the most powerful tools in cancer diagnosis and staging. However, it can also provide important information about neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

What makes PET/CT Unique? 

PET/CT combines two advanced imaging technologies into one exam:

  1. PET – Positron Emission Tomography is a highly sensitive scan that can detect changes in cell activity. This reveals functional activity, in other words it shows areas of high metabolic activity.
  2. CT – Computed Tomography is a highly detailed scan that captures clear pictures of the inside of your body. This reveals the size and shape of the area being imaged. 

Combining the results of these two scans provides simultaneous information about body chemistry and metabolic cell function and location of disease. This enables providers to pinpoint the location of abnormal activity in your body and determine the extent of the disease. This information is critical in determining your best course of treatment.

 

Benefits of PET/CT include:

  • Earlier diagnoses and precise characterization of disease.
  • More accurate staging and restaging to help determine the extent of cancer.
  • Localization of cancer for more precise surgical and treatment planning.

  1. We will call you prior to your appointment to discuss specific preparation instructions and your past imaging exams. Be sure to tell us if you are nursing or if there is a chance you are pregnant. In general, these are key preparation instructions for all PET/CT exams:
    • Refrain from strenuous exercise 24 hours before your exam.
    • Drink plenty of fluids the day before your exam; try to drink 48 ounces.
    • Do not eat or drink anything except water for 6 hours before your exam. Also, please do not chew gum.
    • If you are diabetic, inform your physician and contact CDI for special instructions.
    • Continue to take your medications, with water, unless instructed not to do so by your physician.
  2. On the day of your exam, wear warm, comfortable clothing. Please bring prior imaging results with you and try to arrive 15 minutes early to check-in.  Expect to be at our center for at least two hours. The actual time you are on the scanner should be between 20–45 minutes.
  3. Once you arrive, you will receive an I.V. in your arm or hand for an injection of a small amount of radioactive glucose, which is distributed throughout the body. About 30-70 minutes after the injection, you will empty your bladder and then our PET/CT technologist will help you onto the scanner table to begin the scan.
  4. The technologist will go out of the room to run the scanner from a computer located directly next to the scanner suite, visible through the viewing window. At this time the PET/CT table you are on will move into the scanner and the technologist will take the images. You will need to lie still, breathing normally during the scan. The technologist will be in contact with you throughout the process.
  5. After the exam, you will be allowed to eat and drink immediately, unless you have received other special instructions. Drinking fluid soon after the exam helps remove any of the radioactive sugar still in your system. Your images will be electronically sent to one of our radiologists who will review the information and write a report for your provider. This information is shared with the provider who referred you for the PET/CT. This provider will be the one to follow-up with you about your results.

If you have questions about an upcoming PET/CT scan, please call us.

 

PET/CT procedures are typically covered by both Medicare and private insurance companies. However, we recommend that you contact your insurance provider directly to verify your personal coverage.

 

If you have questions about an upcoming PET/CT scan with us, please call your center