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Learn more about PET/CT at Via.
PET Scan Seattle, Via Radiology
What is Positron Emission Tomography?
Positron emission tomography, also called a PET scan, is an examination that involves producing physiologic images based on the detection of radiation from the emission of positrons. Positrons are tiny particles emitted from a radioactive substance administered to the patient. The subsequent views of the human body developed by PET are used to evaluate a variety of diseases.
What are some common uses of PET?
- Determine benign from malignant tumor in suspicious areas
- Survey whole body for cancer that may have spread
- Monitor success of therapy
- Detect recurrent tumors
- Assess tumor aggressiveness
- Determine what heart tissue is still alive following a suspected heart attack
- Predict success of angioplasty (balloon) by-pass surgery
- Detect Alzheimer’s and other dementia
- Determine the precise location for Epilepsy surgery
- Diagnose Parkinson’s and other movement disorders
How should I prepare for this procedure?
PET is usually done on an outpatient basis. You should:
- Via Radiology will supply you with scrubs to wear for your procedure.
- Do not eat for four hours before the scan.
- Drink water.
- Consult with your doctor regarding the use of medications before the test.
- Diabetic patients should ask for any specific diet guidelines to control glucose levels during the day of the test.
What should I expect from this procedure?
- You will lie down on an examination table and be given the radioactive substance as an intravenous injection (although, in some cases, it will be given through an existing intravenous line or inhaled as a gas). This radioactive substance is produced in a machine called a cyclotron and attached, or tagged, to a natural body compound, most commonly glucose, but sometimes water or ammonia. Once this substance is administered to the patient, the radioactivity localizes in the appropriate areas of the body and is detected by the PET scanner.
- The substance will then take approximately 30 to 60 minutes to travel through your body and be absorbed by the tissue under study.
- You will be asked to rest quietly in a partially darkened room and to avoid significant movement or talking, which may alter the localization of the administered substance.
- Scanning takes an additional 30 to 45 minutes.
- Some patients, specifically those with heart disease, may undergo a stress test in which PET scans are obtained while they are at rest, and again after undergoing the administration of a pharmaceutical to alter the blood flow to the heart.
- Usually, there are no restrictions on daily routine after the test, although you should drink plenty of fluids to flush the radioactive substance from your body.
What will I experience during the procedure?
- If given by intravenous injection, the administration of the radioactive material will feel like a slight prick. You will not feel anything related to the radioactivity of the substance in your body.
- You will be made as comfortable as possible on the exam table before you are positioned in the PET scanner for the test.
- You will be asked to remain still for the duration of the examination.
- Patients who are claustrophobic may feel some anxiety while positioned in the scanner.
- Some patients find it uncomfortable to hold still in one position for more than a few minutes.
Who interprets the results and how do I get them?
Patients undergo PET because their referring physician has recommended it. A radiologist who has specialized training in PET will interpret the images and forward a report to your referring physician. It usually takes one to three days to interpret, report, and deliver the results. In order to facilitate interpretation, you may be asked to bring any outside examinations with you, such as recent CT (CAT) scans or MRI scans.
For more information, please visit www.Radiologyinfo.org