A positron emission tomography computed tomography (PET/CT) scanner measures key body functions including blood flow, oxygen use and sugar metabolism. It’s also used to detect cancer, the spread of cancer, treatment effectiveness, as well as brain and nervous system disorders. The images generated through PET/CT help physicians evaluate how well organs and tissues are functioning and offer vital information even in the earliest stages of disease.
PET/CT combines PET and CT in one single gantry system so acquired images from both devices can be taken sequentially in the same session and combined into a single image. It’s a safe, noninvasive diagnostic procedure that provides detailed information and can shorten the time to diagnosis. PET/CT services are available at LMC Lexington on our mobile PET/CT unit.
How do I prepare?
Different tests require different preparations. You shouldn’t eat for at least four hours before your scan. While you can expect to be in the PET/CT center for 1-1/2 to 3 hours, the actual scan takes much less time. You may be asked to drink an oral contrast agent approximately 90 minutes before your scan. For a short time, you may feel a slight warm sensation in your body. This is normal.
What should I expect?
The CT machine looks like a large square doughnut and only covers the area that is being examined. Before entering the scanning room you will be asked to remove anything metallic. Once you’re positioned on the table, the scan will begin. During the exam you will be in the room alone; however, your technologist will be able to see and hear you throughout the whole procedure. There are no side effects from the contrast agent so you can return to normal activities after your scan.