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What is a PET/CT Scan?

PET/CT is a new highly advanced diagnostic tool. It is the combination of two different types of images into one simple test. PET and CT together give a more accurate picture of what is happening in your body. It is an incredible test for detecting, and monitoring treatment of Cancer, as well as detecting neurological disorders and myocardial function.

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About PET

PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography. PET creates a 3-dimensional image of your body's metabolic function. It lets us see how your body uses sugar for its energy. Cancer cells metabolize (or use) sugar at a higher rate than the surrounding normal cells. By giving you a small injection of sugar that has a radioactive tracer, this will allow your doctor to see just how your body is using this sugar, and shows any area that has abnormal metabolic activity. This is also useful in looking at brain function for neurological conditions such as seizure disorders or Alzheimer's Disease.

PET can also look at your myocardial tissue, or heart muscle, to see how much of the muscle is viable for surgery. Since PET shows metabolic function, the images do not have the clarity as far as the anatomical data (size, shape, exact location).

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About CT

CT stands for Computed Tomography. CT uses x-ray technology with computers to give a clear picture of the anatomy of your body. CT scans give precise detail on your bones, organs, and tissues. Sometimes you will receive a small amount of a contrast agent to help produce a clearer image of certain areas of your body. CT scans can detail the size shape and location of areas of the body, but can not differentiate between normal and abnormal tissues.

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Why Use PET/CT?

By combining the anatomical images from your CT and the metabolic images from your PET, physicians can pinpoint the exact location of abnormal cell activity in your body. The combined images can also let physicians see the level and extent of the abnormal processes in your tissues. This is helpful because abnormal growth may not yet be visible on just a CT scan, and PET alone can not give the image clarity to pinpoint the abnormal activity precisely. The combination of these images greatly improves your doctors ability to know what is going on in your body. This is useful in detecting disease, monitoring treatment, planning surgery, and following your progress after treatment or surgery.

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Preparing for your test

  • 1 or 2 days prior to your test, someone from our center will contact you to go over your specific instructions. Please inform at that time if you are taking any medications, ESPECIALLY if you are a DIABETIC.
  • it is important to Let Us Know if you are a diabetic
  • Do not eat or drink anything except water for 4-6 hours prior to your appointment. You may take your normal medications with a small amount of water.
  • Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing. Please leave all jewelry and valuables at home. Try not to wear clothing with metal snaps, zippers, or decorations.
  • Inform the technologist if you might be pregnant or are breastfeeding
  • Plan on being at our facility for 1 to 2 hours. It is very important that you arrive on time for your appointment.
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What to expect at your appointment

Once you fill out a small amount of paperwork, you will be brought to a comfortable private patient suite. The technologist will meet with you to go over the test and answer any questions you might have. A small amount of radioactive glucose will be given through an IV injection. Once you have received the injection, you will be allowed to rest and relax for about an hour. Once you have rested, you will be placed on the PET/CT exam table. The table will then move into the PET/CT scanner. You will be on the table for about 35 minutes. You will need to lie as still as possible for the test. After you complete the test, you will be able to return to a normal diet and activity level. There are no known reactions to the tracer used for this test.

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Call National PET Scan to schedule your next PET Scan at our toll-free number 1 866 722-6937

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