Frequently Asked Questions
You should expect to spend about two hours with us from the time you enter our facility until you leave. If you are having a PET/CT Bone Scan, this may be slightly longer.
No, a PET/CT technologist is not a nurse or a doctor. Nuclear Medicine is a specialized field within the health care industry, requiring specialized training and certification. Our technologists have undergone extensive technical and medical training that specifically qualifies and licenses them to perform your exam.
In general terms, a CT scan only evaluates the anatomical structures of your body. PET adds vital functional information that, when combined with CT, markedly improves diagnostic capabilities. This leads to far more accurate diagnosis and staging, which ultimately results in better care.
No, chemotherapy and radiation therapy will not interfere with your PET/CT scan. For obvious reasons, these treatment modalities may change the results of your test. In fact, PET/CT is ideal for assessing your body’s response to these therapies, and is superior to other conventional imaging modalities as well. Let us know if you have recently undergone chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
No, a PET/CT scan is a test used to diagnose disease, not provide treatment. The results of a PET/CT scan help your physician determine their treatment decisions.
In order for the PET/CT scanner to operate properly, it must be kept in a cool and dry environment. Because the humidity level is lower in the scan room than most people are accustomed to, it feels much cooler than the rest of the office.
The technical name of the injected material is F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). This is very similar to glucose (normal sugar), but is special because we can image it with our PET/CT scanner.
There are no known side effects or adverse reactions to FDG. Only a single, small intravenous injection is required. While everyone has a different tolerance to small injections, most people find the process virtually pain free.
No iodine or iodine-containing substances are used.
Although FDG is very similar to glucose, the amount injected is so small it will not affect your blood glucose level.
If you feel you require medication to relax you during your scan, you should consult your physician. We cannot provide medications to patients.
No. Oxygen must be prescribed by your physician. If you are in need of oxygen during your visit with us, please bring your prescribed oxygen with you.
Believe it or not, PET/CT is so sensitive that it can even be affected by eye motion, head motion, or stimulation during the “uptake phase”, which is the time period immediately following your injection. Although this may lead to some boredom, we believe this results in the best possible image quality.
No. The PET/CT scan requires the administration of a radioactive isotope. For this reason, portions of the office are restricted and can only be occupied by the patient and the authorized medical personnel.
A standard PET/CT scan usually requires about 20 minutes of “table time”. Occasionally, your doctor may request additional images depending on the reason for your scan, which may add a few minutes to your overall time. You will be informed in advance of your appointment what to expect.
The PET portion of the exam assesses the metabolic function of tissues in your body, whereas most other imaging modalities assess only anatomy. By combining this functional information with CT images, the end result is an exam that is far more accurate, sensitive, and specific than virtually any other diagnostic test of its type.
There are many advantages of PET/CT bone scans over conventional bone scans. To summarize, PET/CT bone scans take a far shorter amount of time to perform and obtain much higher quality images. These images use a different injection and different imaging equipment to provide a more accurate, sensitive, and specific means of determining if bone metastatic disease may be present.
In many cases, small doses of radiation are a necessary requirement to obtain high-quality medical images. The radiation dose associated with PET/CT is slightly higher than some other imaging modalities but remains at a diagnostic level. As with any other diagnostic test that involves the use of radiation, your physician has determined that the benefits of performing the test far outweigh the risk of radiation doses at these low diagnostic levels. Rest assured that we make every effort to use the minimum doses required to obtain diagnostic quality images.