What is a PET scan?
PET, or Positron Emission Tomography, uses advanced imaging to examine body tissues by looking at blood flow, metabolism, and oxygen use. This aids in diagnosing cancer, heart, disease, and brain disorders. PET scans may also be used to see how well treatment for certain diseases is working.
PET often detects disease earlier than conventional imaging such as CT (Computed Tomography) and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). And PET is frequently combined with CT for more a more accurate image.
How is a PET scan different from a CT or MRI scan?
While CTs and MRIs show detailed images of your body’s organs, bones, and tissues, PET scans provide information about diseases from a cellular level.
For a PET scan, a small amount of radioactive drug, called a tracer, is injected into your veins and emits positrons. The camera uses these positrons to create a 3D image of your body.
Types of PET scan at Kettering Health
Kettering Health offers PET/CT advanced imaging at three locations: Kettering Health Main Campus, Soin Medical Center, and Kettering Health Hamilton.
- PET/CT FDG – the most common PET scan (Kettering Health Main Campus, Soin Medical Center, Kettering Health Hamilton)
- PET/CT for prostate cancer imaging (Kettering Health Main Campus, Soin Medical Center, Kettering Health Hamilton)
- PET/CT Myocardial Perfusion Imaging (stress test) for cardiac imaging (Kettering Health Main Campus)
- PET/CT for neuroendocrine imaging (Kettering Health Main Campus)
- PET/CT brain imaging (Kettering Health Main Campus)
- PET/CT research studies (Kettering Health Main Campus)
Kettering Health Main Campus has been named a Radiopharmaceutical Therapy Center of Excellence by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI). This designation is given to sites that excel in patient care, safety, and multiple therapies.
What happens during a PET scan?
When you schedule your PET/CT, you’ll learn about how best to prepare for your scan, including fasting requirements and what to expect on the day of your scan, including how long the scan will take.
The day before your scheduled PET/CT, a nurse will call to ask about your medications and to remind you of your appointment and how to prepare. You’ll be encouraged to drink fluids after your exam.
After you arrive for your scan, a nurse will ask for your height and weight and for you to remove metal objects such as jewelry and belt buckles. A nurse will place an IV in your arm. And a technologist will use the IV to inject a radioactive tracer.
A technologist will help you lie down on the PET scanner’s table and make you comfortable with warm blankets and pillows. You may be asked to raise your arms above your head. Music will be offered, and the lights may be dimmed for your comfort.
The scanner may make a quiet buzzing sound when it takes CT pictures. Your head will be outside of the scanner for most of the exam. At the end of the exam, a technologist will help you off the table. A certified nuclear medicine specialist physician will read your pictures within 24 hours and will send your results to MyChart and your referring physician.