Our Services | Nuclear Medicine

Nearby Locations - PET/CT

PET/CT

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

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

  • PET – Positron Emission Tomography is a highly sensitive scan that can detect changes in cell activity by showing areas of high metabolic activity.
  • 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.

When combined, these two scans provide a lot of information about body chemistry and metabolic cell function, as well as the location of the disease. This lets providers pinpoint the location of abnormal activity in your body and determine the extent of the disease. This information is critical in helping your provider determine the best course of treatment.

What You Need To Know

This exam uses a small amount of radioactive material to diagnosis and determine the severity of or to treat a variety of disease, including:

  • Earlier diagnosis and precise characterization of cancer, heart disease and neurological disorders.
  • More accurate staging and restaging to help determine the extent of cancer.
  • Localization of cancer for more precise surgical and treatment planning.
  • The amount of radiation from a nuclear medicine procedure is comparable to that received during a routine X-ray.
  • The clinical benefits of medical imaging typically outweigh the potential risks of radiation exposure, but please talk with your doctor if you have any concerns.
  • A small amount of radioactive material or “tracer” is used. It only remains in the body for a short period of time before being eliminated in the urine or stool, typically within 24 hours.

What To Expect

  • We’ll give you a call before your appointment to talk through preparation instructions and your past imaging exams.
  • You can 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.
  • Be sure to tell us if you are nursing or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.
  • 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, please inform your physician and contact us for special instructions.
  • Continue to take your medications, with water, unless instructed not to do so by your physician.
  • Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled procedure time.
  • When you arrive, you will be led to a changing room and given a pair of scrubs to wear for your exam. You will be given a locker to store your clothes, and anything else you may have with you during your exam.
  • You can 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.
  • Once you arrive, you will receive an IV 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 be asked to empty your bladder.
  • Our PET/CT technologist will help you onto the scanner table to begin the scan.
  • The technologist will give you instructions during the exam. It is very important that you don’t move during the exam as motion may cause the images to blur. Blurry images mean that you might need to repeat parts of the procedure.
  • The technologist will be in constant communication with you during the procedure, and will be present in or near the exam room for the entire procedure.
  • When your scan is complete, you’ll be escorted back to the changing room so you can change out of the scrubs and back into your clothing.
  • Once you have changed, your appointment is complete. You do not need to check out with the front desk when you leave.
  • 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 glucose still in your system.
  • After the exam, your images will be sent electronically to one of our radiologists. This radiologist will review the information and send a report to your referring provider, typically within one to two business days.
  • You should follow up with your referring provider to discuss your results.