WHAT IS A PET SCAN?
Positron emission tomography, also called PET imaging or a PET scan measure important body functions, such as blood flow, oxygen use, and sugar (glucose) metabolism, to help doctors evaluate how well organs and tissues are functioning. PET scans are a type of nuclear medicine imaging.
Nuclear medicine procedures are able to pinpoint molecular activity within the body. They offer the potential to identify disease in its earliest stages as well as a patient’s immediate response to therapeutic interventions.
COMMON USES OF THE PROCEDURE
- detect cancer.
- determine whether a cancer has spread in the body.
- assess 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 effects of a heart attack, or myocardial infarction, on areas of the heart.
- identify areas of the heart muscle that would benefit from a procedure such as angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery (in combination with a myocardial perfusion scan).
- evaluate brain abnormalities, such as tumors, memory disorders, seizures and other central nervous system disorders.
- map normal human brain and heart function.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR PROCEDURE?
- You may be asked to wear a gown during the exam
- Metal objects including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures and hairpins may affect the CT images and should be left at home or removed prior to your exam.
- You may also be asked to remove hearing aids and removable dental work.
- Generally, you will 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. If you are diabetic, you may be given special instructions.
Inform our Radiologic Physician of:
- any medications you are taking (including vitamins and herbal supplements)
- any allergies (especially to contrast materials, iodine, or seafood)
- if you are pregnant
- if you are breast-feeding
- recent illnesses or other medical conditions
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.
HOW IS PROCEDURE PERFORMED?
- Procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis, but is often performed on hospitalized patients as well.
- You are positioned on an examination table.
- Depending on the type of exam you are undergoing, the dose of radiotracer is injected intravenously, swallowed or inhaled as a gas.
- Intravenously: you will feel a slight pin prick when the needle is inserted into your vein for the intravenous line.
- Injected Into Arm: cold sensation moving up your arm, but there are generally no other side effects.
- Swallowed: radiotracer has little or no taste.
- Inhaled: you should feel no differently than when breathing room air or holding your breath.
- You will be asked to rest quietly, avoiding movement and talking.It takes about 60 minutes for the radiotracer to travel through your body and to be absorbed by the organ or tissue being studied.
- You may be asked to drink some contrast material that will localize in the intestines and help the Radiologic Physician interpreting the study.
- You will then be moved into the PET/CT scanner and the imaging will begin.
- You will need to remain still during imaging.
- The CT exam will be done first, followed by the PET scan.
- CT scanning takes less than two minutes.
- PET scan takes 20-30 minutes.
- Total scanning time is approximately 30 minutes.
- When the examination is completed, you may be asked to wait until the Technologist checks the images in case additional images are needed.
- Intravenous lines inserted for the procedure will be removed unless you are scheduled for an additional procedure that same day that requires an intravenous line.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER PROCEDURE
Except for intravenous injections, most nuclear medicine procedures are painless and are rarely associated with significant discomfort or side effects.
Unless your physician tells you otherwise, you may resume your normal activities after your nuclear medicine scan. If any special instructions are necessary, you will be informed by the Technologist, nurse or Radiologic Physician before you leave the nuclear medicine department.
Through the natural process of radioactive decay, the small amount of radiotracer in your body will lose its radioactivity over time. It may also pass out of your body through your urine or stool during the first few hours or days following the test. You should also drink plenty of water to help flush the radioactive material out of your body as instructed by the nuclear medicine personnel.
WHO INTERPRETS RESULTS AND HOW WILL I RECEIVE THE RESULTS OF THE TEST?
One of our Radiologic Physician will forward your results to your referring Physician along with follow-up recommendations. Your Physician should contact you with the results.
PET/CT Scans are only performed at Baptist Health PET/CT Imaging Center – North Little Rock
3500 Springhill Drive
North Little Rock, AR 72117
WHAT ABOUT PAYMENT?
Radiology Consultants will file all insurance as a courtesy to you. Depending on the Contractual Agreement with your Insurance Company, you may owe a co-payment and/or deductible at the time of service.
* Please bring your Insurance Card with you *
Please visit our BILLING PAGE for specific information on Insurance, Self-Pay, Motor Vehicle Accident, Cash, Debit or Major Credit Card payment options.
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Please notify the Radiologic Physician and/or Technologist if there is a possibility you are pregnant. Radiation is potentially harmful to a developing baby during pregnancy.