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  • PET / CT Scan

    What is a PET/ CT Scan?

    Positron Emission Tomography (PET/CT) is a Nuclear Medicine technique that is used to detect abnormal biological activity in tissues throughout the body. Glucose (sugar) is combined with a radioactive tracer and injected into the bloodstream. Detectors are then used to locate areas of increased accumulation of the tracer compared to normal tissues. PET/CT images supplement the information obtained from conventional studies such as CT, MRI, and Ultrasound.

    PET/CT can often detect small cancers before they are apparent on other types of exams because many cancers use glucose as their primary fuel. PET/CT imaging can also be used to detect neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy. It also has a role in the diagnosis of coronary artery disease.

    A new and powerful tool, PET/CT Fusion, is now available that allows PET/CT images to be digitally superimposed or fused to other imaging modalities (CT, MRI, and Ultrasound). This fusion process allows direct comparison of detailed anatomic information with molecular function. This additional information can help your doctor plan appropriate radiation therapy, biopsy, or surgery.

    What Should I Expect?

    A small intravenous catheter will be inserted into a vein in your arm. You will then rest comfortably in a quiet room while the radioactive tracer is injected. The tracer, Fluorine 18-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), is a radioactive sugar that is used by your cells as fuel. The FDG is allowed to circulate throughout your body during a 60 to 75 minute uptake period. The small amounts of tracer that are used do not have any side effects. You will then be placed on a table in the PET/CT scanner, where you will rest comfortably for the remainder of the study. The scanner makes very little noise. Depending on the particular type of exam, you may be required to place your arms above your head during the imaging process. Scan times vary depending upon your doctor’s request; the average scan time is 45 minutes.

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