Alameda Location Only

PET/CT

Positron Emission Tomography / Computed Tomography

Radiology and Imaging’s PET and PET/CT services allows our specialty-trained radiologists to interpret these studies and to offer PET and PET/CT services to our referring physicians and patients. Our specialty-trained radiologists interpret these studies and provide a detailed report of the findings to each patient’s physician. PET/CT technology allows our radiologists to identify and localize cancer earlier than ever before so your physician can more accurately make a diagnosis. Plus, likely outcomes of various therapeutic alternatives can be monitored, allowing for better choices of treatments.

What is PET/CT?

PET/CT combines the functional information from a positron emission tomography (PET) exam with the anatomical information from a computed tomography (CT) exam into one single exam. A PET scan detects changes in cellular function – how your cells are utilizing nutrients like glucose and oxygen. Since these functional changes take place before physical changes occur, PET can provide information that enables a physician to make an early diagnosis. A CT scan uses a combination of x-rays and computers to give the radiologist a non-invasive way to see inside the body. One advantage of CT is its ability to rapidly acquire two-dimensional pictures of the anatomy. Using a computer these 2-D images can be presented in 3-D for an in-depth clinical evaluation. When these two scans are fused together, a physician can view metabolic changes in the proper anatomical context of your body.

Common Indications for PET/CT

  • Breast Cancer
  • Colorectal
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Head & Neck Cancers (excluding CNS and thyroid)
  • Lung Cancer (non-small cell)
  • Lymphoma
  • Melanoma
  • Myocardial Viability
  • Refractory Seizures
  • Solitary Pulmonary Nodule
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Dementia

Preparing for a PET/CT

  • Do not have anything to eat or drink for 4-6 hours prior to the exam.
  • If you are diabetic, you should call Coastal Bend PETScan Ltd. or your primary physician for specific exam instructions.
  • Strenuous exercise should be avoided for 24 hours prior to a PET/CT exam.

For the PET portion of the exam, you will receive a radiopharmaceutical injection. PET radiopharmaceuticals lose their radioactivity very quickly (between 2 minutes to 2 hours) and only very small amounts are injected. In all cases, little or no radioactivity will remain in your body 10 minutes to 6 hours after the injection. For most studies, you will have to wait for the radiopharmaceutical to distribute itself through your body. This typically takes 30 minutes to one hour. During this time you will be asked to relax in a comfortable chair.

During and after a PET/CT

During a PET/CT study you will lie on the scanner’s comfortable table. The table will move slowly through the tube-shaped scanner as it acquires the information needed to generate diagnostic images. You will be asked to lie very still during the scan because movement can interfere with the results. During the CT portion of the exam you may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds to minimize body movements. During the scan, you might hear a humming noise but will not feel anything unusual. You may feel the table move while images are being taken at certain locations on the body. A technologist will monitor the progress of the exam.

Actual exam time for a PET/CT scan should last between 30 and 45 minutes. The exam procedure can vary depending on what we are looking for and what we discover along the way. Including the time needed for injection of the radiopharmaceutical, you should plan to spend two to three hours at our facility for the procedure.

Once the PET/CT exam is complete, you may resume normal activity. Drinking plenty of fluids soon after the exam will help remove any of the radiopharmaceuticals that may still be in your system.

One of Radiology & Imaging’s radiologists who specializes in interpreting PET/CT exams will prepare the results of the exam for your physician. Your physician will discuss the results of the exam with you.