Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is
a Nuclear Medicine technique that is used to detect
abnormal biological activity in tissues throughout
the body. Glucose (sugar) is combined with a radioactive
tracer and injected into the bloodstream. Detectors
are then used to locate areas of increased accumulation
of the tracer compared to normal tissues. PET images
supplement the information obtained from conventional
studies such as CT, MRI, and Ultrasound.
often detect small cancers before they are apparent
on other types of exams because many cancers
use glucose as their
primary fuel. PET imaging can also be used to detect
neurological disorders such as Alzheimerís disease, Parkinsonís
disease, and epilepsy. It also has a role in the
diagnosis of coronary artery disease.
A new and powerful tool, PET Fusion, is now available
that allows PET images to be digitally superimposed
or fused to other imaging modalities (CT, MRI, and
Ultrasound). This fusion process allows direct comparison
of detailed anatomic information with molecular function.
This additional information can help your doctor plan
appropriate radiation therapy, biopsy, or surgery.
What Should I Expect?
We will evaluate you blood glucose level with a finger-stick.
After this, a small intravenous catheter will be inserted
into a vein in your arm. A radioactive tracer will
be injected. The tracer, Fluorine 18-fluorodeoxyglucose
(FDG), is a radioactive sugar that is used by your
cells as fuel. The FDG is allowed to circulate throughout
your body during a 45-60 minute uptake period. The
small amounts of tracer that are used do not have
any side effects. You will then be placed on a table
the PET scanner, where you will rest comfortably
for the remainder of the study. The scanner makes very
little noise. Depending on the particular type of
you may be required to place your arms above your
head during the imaging process. Scan times vary depending
upon your doctorís
request; the average scan time is 60 minutes. You should expect to
be at the imaging center for a total of 3 to 4 hours.
How Should I Prepare?
You will need to fast for 6 hours before your scheduled exam. Tell
your doctor if you are diabetic, as you will need to
fast for 4 hours before the exam.
Avoid nicotine, caffeine, sugar, and vigorous exercise for 24 hours
before your exam and try to drink extra water. You
should continue all other medications
prescribed by your doctor unless informed otherwise.
You should wear
comfortable clothing and avoid any clothing with
metal. Any metal objects such as earrings,
eyeglasses, or hairpins should also be removed. Women should always
inform their technologist if there is any possibility
How Do I Get the Results?
After your study is over, a radiologist will review and evaluate
your exam. Both a preliminary and final report will
be sent to your doctor, who can then
discuss the results with you in detail. Often, for more immediate
situations, our radiologists will speak directly
with your referring physician to discuss
the results of your procedure.
At any time before or after your
procedure, our radiologists are happy to provide
one-on-one consultations with