What Is A PET/CT Scan?
A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a type of nuclear medicine study that produces detailed three-dimensional (3D) images of bodily functions. A PET scan uses a small dose of target radiation to outline differences between healthy and damaged tissue. The ability to visualize this comparison is useful when determining the effectiveness of treatment plans for certain medical conditions such as cancer. A PET-CT scan combines the strengths of a PET and CT scan together. A PET scan can detect the finest of changes on the cellular level while a CT scan can provide in-depth structural detail.
How Does A PET/CT Scan Work?
A PET-CT scan works by attaching a small amount of radiation tracers to an abundant compound found in the body such as glucose. A PET scan machine records the tracer as it moves throughout the body to see how it interacts with specific cells. Images are produced of these interactions that can show details of organ function.
What Are The Benefits Of A PET/CT Scan?
A PET-CT scan combines the benefits of a PET and CT scan together. This imaging study is extremely important in measuring the effectiveness of treatment plans for chronic illnesses. A PET-CT scan is non-invasive and can measure the improvement of organ function down to the molecular level. This fine level of detail can help physicians properly track how treatments are doing and if a medical condition is spreading. In certain cases, a PET-CT scan can be used to detect the early signs of neurological conditions such as dementia and epilepsy.
How Do I Prepare For A PET/CT Scan?
Before the day of your appointment, you want to refrain from any physical exercise and limit your carbohydrate intake. These factors can influence how the radiation tracers interact with cells throughout the body. On the day of your imaging study, you will need to fast for four hours prior to your scheduled appointment. Your physician will inform you of what medications you can take with water on the day of your appointment. If you are diabetic, please try to regulate your sugar up to the time of your appointment. Bring your diabetic medication with you in case your levels need to be adjusted. Shortly before your appointment, you will receive a small dose of radiation intravenously that is expelled out of the body after a short period of time. It is important to arrive at least fifteen minutes prior to your appointment.