P.E.T. Scan

P.E.T. Scan Video

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PET (positron emission tomography) is a medical imaging scan which creates functional pictures of the human body. Unlike x-rays, ultrasound, CT or MRI scans, which create images of your body structure (anatomy), PET provides data in the form of images which reveal the functional processes (physiology or metabolism) of the body. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about PET imaging:

What does PET stand for?

PET is short for positron emission tomography. The name refers to the type of radioactive isotopes that are used in the injectable radiopharmaceuticals, which are positron emitters. Tomography is the way the computer makes the picture into two and three dimensions.

What is going to happen to me today?

The staff at Advanced Diagnostic Radiology (ADR) will collect a basic medical history from you and explain the scanning process. Next, the technologist will start a small temporary IV (intravenous) access in one of your arms, through which a radiopharmaceutical will be injected. The technologist will then remove the IV and you will be asked to rest in a recliner for thirty minutes to an hour while the radiopharmaceutical circulates through your body. After the waiting period, you will be taken to the restroom so that you can empty your bladder prior to the imaging process. Finally, you will lie down on the scanner table. The technologist will make you as comfortable as possible. Just try to lie quietly and breathe normally.

Is this going to hurt?

The only part of the PET scan that you will feel is when the technologist establishes an IV (intravenous) access in your arm with a small needle. This IV access port will be used to give you the radiopharmaceutical injection.

What is in the injection that I get for the scan?

The radiopharmaceutical injected into you for your PET scan is called FDG, which stands for “fluoro-deoxy-glucose”. This is a very low concentration solution of glucose in water. The glucose, or sugar molecules, have a radioactive isotope of fluorine attached to them which allows the scanner to “see” where the sugar is being used (metabolized) in your body.

Will I have any reactions or effects from the injection?

You will not have any side effects or adverse reactions to the injection.

I am a diabetic. Will this injection of sugar upset my diabetes?

No. The amount of sugar injected into your bloodstream will not upset your sugar balance.

How long does the PET process take?

You will be here for approximately two hours, depending on the type of study your doctor has requested.

Do I have to get undressed to have my scan taken?

No. The camera can collect all of the necessary data with you being fully clothed. We suggest that you NOT wear any jewelry (other than wedding bands) on your scan day. You will be asked to remove necklaces, earrings, any metal objects in your pockets, etc. before the scanning begins.

Why can’t I eat before this test?

The injection given for the PET study uses sugar (glucose) as a transport molecule. If your blood sugar level is too high at the time of the injection, the scan will be invalid.

Can I have water before I come for my test?

Yes. Water is the only substance you may have prior to your test. Diabetic patients should check with their personal physicians to discuss dietary restrictions in relation to this test.

Should I take my medicines as I normally do?

Yes. Most medications do not interfere with this test. Check with your personal physician to be sure you know what to do about your medications.