How does a PET scan work?
By using positron emission tomography (PET) scans, you can see how your organs and tissues function. Radiotracers are safe chemicals that can be injected in the body and are used in conjunction with PET CT scan. Radiation traces radioactive components that are absorbed heavily by diseased cells. This indicates an underlying health issue.
How are PET scans used in healthcare?
A PET scan may be ordered by your healthcare provider to check for:
- This includes both breast cancer and lung cancer.
- Heart disease, stroke, or another heart problem.
- Alzheimer’s disease, brain tumors, epilepsy, and dementia are all disorders of the brain.
PET scans reveal what?
A PET scan can:
- Measure vital functions like blood flow, oxygen consumption, and sugar (glucose) metabolism.
- Determine which organs and tissues aren’t functioning properly.
- Assess cancer spread (metastasis) by detecting cancerous tumor cells.
- Assess the effectiveness of a treatment plan and assist your healthcare provider if needed.
Do PET scans differ from CT and MRI scans?
The scans of computerized tomography (CT) machine use X-rays. Magnets and radio waves are used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Images of body organs and structures are produced by both.
An organ’s functioning can be seen by a PET scan by using a radioactive tracer. CT and MRI scans cannot detect changes in organs and tissues as early as PET scans. PET and CT can be performed simultaneously by your healthcare provider (PET-CT). With this combination test, accurate diagnoses are possible through 3D images.
In some hospitals, MRIs and PETs can be used together. It can be used to diagnose and monitor cancers of soft tissues (brain, head, neck, liver and pelvis) due to its high contrast.
PET scans: how do they work?
Organs and tissues can be detected by PET scans for diseased cells. Radiation is administered intravenously (IV) in a safe amount. Known as a radiotracer, this substance is used in tracking.
In your body, the radiotracer is absorbed more effectively by diseased cells than by healthy ones. This radiation is detected by the PET scanner. Images of the affected tissue are then produced. CT and PET images are combined in a PET/CT scan.
Is there anything I should do before a PET scan?
Outpatient PET scans result in a same-day return to your home. Preparing for your scan will be explained in detail by your healthcare provider. Generally, you should:
- Keep your provider informed about all medications and supplements you take.
- If you think you may be pregnant, tell your provider right away.
- Six hours before the test, do not eat anything. In case you have diabetes, this direction may need to be changed.
- Water is the only drink you should consume.
- If you are being tested for a heart condition, you should avoid caffeine for 24 hours before the test.
- Dress comfortably.
How will the PET scan go?
PET scans are conducted as follows:
- Radiotracers are injected intravenously containing safe doses of radioactive drugs. Radiotracers such as fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) are commonly used in medicine.
- A radiotracer is injected into your bloodstream during an hour-long sitting period. A radiotracer can be sent too far into your body if you do too much activity. The radiotracer will not be felt by you.
- The radiotracer is absorbed by your organs within one hour.
- An IV contrast dye injection may also be given as part of your PET/CT exam. Sharper CT images can be obtained by using this dye.
- Exam tables slide into and out of PET/CT scanners. A doughnut-shaped scanner. About 30 inches is the diameter of the doughnut or tunnel opening.
- You should remain still throughout the scan. Images can be blurred by movement.
- While the scanner captures images, you might hear clicking and buzzing sounds.
- Whenever you feel anxious, discuss the matter with your healthcare provider. The procedure may be made more relaxing for you with mild sedatives.
- We ensure the scans are focused before you leave by having a technologist confirm it.