How it Works
- Diagnose cancer
- Determine whether a cancer has spread
- Evaluate the effectiveness of a treatment plan, such as cancer therapy
- Determine if a cancer has returned after treatment
- Determine blood flow to the heart muscle
- Determine the impact of a heart attack
- Iidentify areas of the heart muscle that would benefit from surgery
- Evaluate brain abnormalities and other central nervous system disorders
- More precise information than exploratory surgery
- Information about molecular changes that signal a possible disease earlier than any other diagnostic tool
The MRI Scanner
A Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner is a large machine with a round, doughnut shaped hole in the middle. You will lie on a narrow examination table that slides in and out of the machine or tunnel. The x-ray tube and electronic x-ray detectors will rotate around you. These detectors will record the emission of energy from the radioactive material in your body. A computer captures the data provided by the scanner and produces images your doctor will study. A technologist will operate the scanner from a separate room, but will be in constant contact with you during the entire test.
- If you are claustrophobic, talk to your doctor well in advance of the exam about giving you something to help you relax.
- You may be asked not to eat anything for several hours before a whole body PET/CT scan.
- You should not drink any liquids containing sugars or calories for several hours before the scan. You'll be encouraged to drink water.
- You will need to tell the technologist about medications, vitamins or herbal supplements you are taking, and any allergies, recent illnesses or other medical conditions you may have.
- Metal objects including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures and hairpins should be left at home or removed before the test.
- You may be asked to remove hearing aids and removable dental work.
- You may be asked to wear a gown during the exam.
During the Test
Total scanning time is approximately 30 minutes. Additional tests involving other drugs used to help spot chemical activity may be used. This may lengthen the testing time to as much as three hours. More images may be needed for a better view of the area the doctor wants to view and you should NOT worry that an extended exam means anything abnormal was found.
- Unless you have taken medication to relax you, you should be able to resume normal activities after your scan. The small amount of radioactive material used to identify chemical activity loses its radioactivity during the first few days after the test. You will be given instructions for drinking lots of water and taking other precautions.
- Our radiologists will conduct the exam and study your scan within the next 48 hours so that your physician can immediately plan treatment.
- Your referring doctor will discuss the test results with you.