A PET-CT (Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography) is an advanced technology scan, which combines a CT and a PET scan into one. The scan uses X-ray technology together with a radioactive tracer to produce a detailed three-dimensional picture of the internal anatomy and function. It reveals information about both the structure and function of cells and tissues in the body. PET is the function i.e. the radioactive substance used with the scan and CT is the place on the body where the scan will take place.

What is a PET-CT scan?

It is an imaging test to check for diseases within the body. The scan uses a glucose (sugar) solution which contains a very small amount of radioactive material. The scanner produces images allowing us to “see” damaged or cancerous cells. Potential issues are detected where the glucose solution is absorbed (cancer cells often use more glucose than normal cells), and the rate at which a possible cancer is using the glucose.

To begin the test, you will rest on a table that slides into a large tunnel-shaped scanner. This scan is used to inspect your blood flow, oxygen intake, or the metabolism of your organs and tissues. PET-CT scans are most commonly used to detect:

  • Cancer
  • Heart problems
  • Brain disorders, including issues with the central nervous system (CNS)

PET-CT scans are particularly good for detecting very early changes in your cells.

What happens after the PET-CT scan?

The scan involves radioactive tracers, but the exposure to harmful radiation is minimal, and the substance is absorbed by the organs or tissues being examined. The procedure is painless and may vary in length, depending on the part of the body being evaluated. You may experience some mild discomfort if you are claustrophobic.

The PET-CT may be harmful if you are pregnant, have kidney disease or who have elevated creatinine levels from medications already being taken. Please notify a member of our team if any of these apply to you.

Throughout the process, our highly trained staff are on hand to answer any of your concerns or queries, so if you have a question at any point, just ask and they will be more than happy to help.

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