A PET/CT Scan is a hybrid of two technologies. It has a CT component which allows the doctor to see the anatomy, and the PET scan portion allows for the viewing of the physiology. With a PET/CT scan, we can look at body parts and see how they are functioning depending on what kind of chemical tracer is administered to the patient. Typically, this is used in cancer detection to see if something is active or not. It can also be used to look at the brain and brain functioning in patients with dementia.
By having two PET-CT systems in the same facility, we can offer more scheduling availability and minimal wait times to our patients and referring physicians.
How should I prepare?
You may be asked to wear a gown during the exam or you may be allowed to wear your own clothing.
Women should always inform their physician or technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant or if they are breastfeeding their baby. Ask the technologist for more information about pregnancy and breastfeeding related to nuclear medicine imaging.
You should inform your physician of any medications you are taking as well as vitamins and herbal supplements and if you have any allergies. Also inform your doctor about recent illnesses or other medical conditions.
Jewelry and other accessories should be left at home if possible, or removed prior to the exam because they may interfere with the procedure.
You will receive specific instructions based on the type of PET scan you are undergoing. Diabetic patients will receive special instructions to prepare for this exam.
What will I experience during and after the procedure?
Most nuclear medicine procedures are painless.
If the radio-tracer is given intravenously, you will feel a slight pin prick when the needle is inserted into your vein for the intravenous line. When the radioactive material is injected into your arm, you may feel a cold sensation moving up your arm, but there are generally no other side effects.
When swallowed, the radio-tracer has little or no taste. When inhaled, you should feel no differently than when breathing room air or holding your breath.
With some procedures, a catheter may be placed into your bladder, which may cause temporary discomfort.
It is important that you remain still while the images are being recorded. Though nuclear imaging itself causes no pain, there may be some discomfort from having to remain still or to stay in one particular position during imaging. If you are claustrophobic, you may feel some anxiety while you are being scanned. Unless your physician tells you otherwise, you may resume your normal activities after your nuclear medicine scan.
Through the natural process of radioactive decay, the small amount of radio-tracer in your body will lose its radioactivity over time. In many cases, the radioactivity will dissipate over the first 24 hours following the test and pass out of your body through your urine or stool. You may be instructed to take special precautions after urinating, to flush the toilet twice and to wash your hands thoroughly. You should also drink plenty of water to help flush the radioactive material out of your body.
Who interprets the results and how do I get them?
A radiologist who has specialized training in nuclear medicine will interpret the images and forward a report to your referring physician.
Lakes Radiology is an Accredited Facility with the American College of Radiology. ACR Accreditation is recognized as the gold standard in medical imaging since 1987.
The American College of Radiology® (ACR®) is a nonprofit professional society representing radiologists, nuclear medicine physicians, radiation oncologists and medical physicists. It is the largest and oldest imaging accrediting body in the U.S., with a current membership of 39,000 physicians and medical physicists. The core purpose of the ACR is to serve patients and society by empowering its members to advance the practice, science and professions of radiological and radiation oncology care.
Schedule an Appointment
To schedule an appointment at Lakes Radiology please call (305) 231-1115 or fill out the form below.