Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography (PET/CT) is the most advanced medical imaging system for cancer detection and is the combination of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computed Tomography scanners. The PET/CT scans provide images and tools that allow physicians to pinpoint the anatomic location of abnormal metabolic activity (which may represent cancer) within the body. The combined scans have been shown to provide more accurate diagnoses than the two scans performed separately. Besides using PET/CT for detecting cancer, it can also be utilized to see the effects of cancer treatment by characterizing biochemical changes in the cancer. This exam can determine whether a growth is malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous) and evaluate the progression of disease. Doctors can use this exam for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease. The highly sensitive PET scan captures the biology of disorders at the molecular level, while the CT scan provides detailed images of the body’s internal anatomy. The PET/CT scan combines these two well-established imaging modalities into a single exam. A CT scan is able to detect and localize changes in the body structure or anatomy, such as the size, shape and exact location of an abnormal growth, a sizeable tumor or a musculoskeletal injury. A PET scan is very different from an ultrasound, X-ray, MRI, or CT scan. A PET scan allows the physician to distinguish between living and dead tissue or between benign and malignant disorders. Since a PET scan images the biology of disorders at the molecular level, it can help the physician detect abnormalities in cellular activity at a very early stage, generally before anatomic changes are visible. Alone, each imaging test has particular benefits and limitations but by combining these two state-of the-art technologies, physicians can more accurately diagnose, localize and monitor cancer, as well as certain brain disorders.
Preparation for PET/CT
We ask you not to eat anything 5 hours before the exam time and the last meal should be protein only such as meat, beef, pork, lamb, veal, chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, eggs, cheese, nuts, butter, margarine, oil, diet soda, black coffee, and tea. You may take your prescribed medications with exception of diabetic medications. You should wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing, without metal snaps or buttons and no perfume. Lastly, please drink at least two glasses of water before your appointment. One of our staff will review your particular preparation for your PET/CT scan at the time of scheduling.