What is the PET scan?

By Magnus Admin Oct 08, 2018

A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is an imaging test that allows your doctor to check how your tissues and organs are functioning. A PET scan uses a radioactive drug (tracer) to show this activity. This scan can sometimes detect disease before any other imaging tests. The scan uses a special dye containing radioactive tracers. These tracers are either swallowed, inhaled, or injected into a vein in your arm depending on what part of the body is being examined. Certain organs and tissues then absorb the tracer. When detected by the PET scanner, a doctor can see how well your organ and tissues are working.

The PET test is most commonly used in cancer treatment, neurology, and cardiology. Combined with a CT or MRI scan, a PET scan can produce multidimensional, color images.

Why is PET scan performed?

PET scan is done to examine the chemical activity in parts of your body. It is the most effective way of examining. It helps identify a variety of conditions, including many cancers, heart disease, and brain disorders. PET scans show problems at the cellular level, giving your doctor the best view of complex systemic diseases.

PET scan is commonly used:

1. Cancer

2. Alzheimer's disease

3. Heart disease

4. Medical research

 pet scan for breast cancer

Differences between PET, CT, and MRI scans

CT scan and MRI can access to the body organs size and shapes and tissues but they cannot access how these works. PET scan shows how an organ works, but without MRI and CT scan it is difficult to pinpoint the exact location of activity within the body. The combined PET scan and CT scan will give the more clear picture of the patient's situation.

Modern PET scanners are now available with integrated CT scanners which can create two sets of precisely matched images. There are also integrated PET-MRI scanners which are currently only used for head and brain imaging.

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People with other health condition and Allergies

People who are allergic to iodine, aspartame, saccharin should alert their doctors beforehand. Those who have allergies with iodine tracer typically receive a tracer made up of diluted barium sweetened with saccharin.

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People have an allergic reaction to the iodine tracer include people with:

1. Allergies

2. Asthma

3. Heart disease

4. Dehydration

5. A history of allergic reactions to PET scans

6. Kidney disease

7. Multiple myeloma

8. Blood cell disorders

How to prepare for PET scan

The Doctor will provide you with the complete instruction on how to be prepaid for PET scan, and what precautions should you take before TEST scan.

24 hours before the appointment, you will be asked to restrict low-carbohydrate, no-sugar diet. You should avoid following food and beverages:

1. Rice

2. Milk, yogurt

3. Fruit juices

4. Alcohol

5. Cereal

6. Pasta

7. Bakery items

8. Candy, chewing gums

 pet scan for cancer

On the day of scanning you will want to arrive at least 30 mins in advanced so that you can settle comfortably, Generally, PET scan takes around an hour and a half to perform from start to finished. However, the time can vary.

If you are taking anesthesia for the procedure, don't eat or drink anything the entire morning. If you are receiving anaesthesia you will still want to refrain from eating before six hours of PET scan. You will be able to drink water and take medicines as recommended.

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Other Consideration

1. If you have diabetes: If your glucose levels are high, the radiotracer will not be taken up efficiently in cells, make sure your sugar level is as per required.

2. If you are taking vitamins and herbal supplements

3. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant

4. If you are breastfeeding

5. If you are claustrophobic

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