PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and CT (Computed Tomography) are both standard imaging tools that physicians use to help diagnose and treat disease. The PET scan demonstrates the biological function of the body before anatomical changes take place, while the CT scan provides information about the body's anatomy, such as size, shape and location. By combining these two technologies, physicians can more accurately diagnose and identify cancer, heart disease and brain disorders.
PET/CT is a powerful imaging technique that holds great promise in the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases, particularly cancer. A non-invasive test, PET/CT accurately images metabolic and anatomic information in the human body in a single scan. This allows your physician to examine your entire body at once. PET/CT provides a more complete picture, making it easier for your doctor to diagnose problems, determine the extent of disease, prescribe treatment, and track progress.
A PET/CT scan is completely painless, with no side effects. After fasting approximately six (6) hours, you will receive an intravenous injection of a radioactive glucose. Following the injection, you will rest quietly for approximately 45 minutes while the glucose is distributed throughout the body. After the distribution time is complete, you will then be asked to lie on a table that slowly passes through the scanner. After the organ being studied processes the radioactive tracer and the scanner records the information, a trained radiologist interprets the images. The test takes two (2) hours from start to finish. Results are reported to your referring physician usually within 48 hours.
Medicare and most private insurance covers PET/CT scanning for many uses, including breast, lung, colorectal, esophageal, melanoma, lymphoma, thyroid and head and neck cancers. Check with your physician about your insurance coverage.
It is important to follow these important guidelines to prepare for your PET/CT scan:
1. Nothing to eat or drink (except water)* six (6) hours prior to your appointment. This includes NO hard candy, cough drops or gum.
* You should have at least 32 oz of water within that six (6)-hour period to remain fully hydrated.
2. Follow a high protein/low carbohydrate diet for the last meal eaten prior to fasting.
3. If you are a diabetic, have a high protein/low carbohydrate breakfast and insulin, no lunch and we will schedule test for four (4) hours after you have taken your insulin.
4. You may take any other medication prescribed by your physician, except insulin.
5. Do not do any vigorous exercise 24 hours prior to your appointment.
6. Do not wear clothing with metal, sequins, zippers or underwire bras.
7. Please bring any previous radiology exams with you.
8. Register at outpatient registration 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment.
9. You will be required to have a glucose test upon arrival.
10. Weight limit is 300 pounds.