When it comes to the world of medical imaging, there is plenty of confusing lingo that tends to instill fear in the hearts of those who are going to be on the receiving end of any exam. One such procedure is a PET scan. Also known as a positron emission tomography scan, this type of medical imaging uses radiation so that a doctor can view activity that in happening in the body on a cellular level. For the most part, this type of scan is used in cancer treatment, as well as in cardiology and neurology. When combined with a MRI or CT scan, a PET scan will provide a multidimensional image in color that will show the ins and outs of the human body. Not only will this allow for a physician to see the organs inside your body, but it will also allow them to see how those organs are working. This scan is commonly used in order to diagnose a number of health conditions so that a treatment plan can be developed. It is also used to see the current state of medicals conditions and for determining how well treatments are working currently. In order to give you more information about this process, we have answered some of the most common questions that we get about PET scans in the sections below.
How PET Scans Work
When a PET scan takes place, it is used to measure things like oxygen use, blood flow and sugar metabolism. Your doctor can see how your tissues and organs are functioning in a quick and simple manner by using this medical imaging technology.
Getting Ready for your PET Scan
If you want the best results from your PET scan, you need to make sure that your doctor has all the information that she or he needs ahead of time. For the most part, you should not eat or drink anything except water and the medications that have been prescribed to you for six hours prior to your PET scan taking place.
When it comes to the last meal you eat before your PET scan, we would suggest that you stick to something that includes high protein foods and a lot of water. For the most part, carbohydrates should be avoided, as should any other foods that are high in sugar. The reasoning behind this has to do with what PET scans are used for. This test is meant to read your sugar metabolism, so eating foods that contain sugar or break down as sugars in your system will likely skew your results.
Lastly, it is recommended that you do not exercise for at least 24 hours before your scan as doing so could lead to your having inaccurate results on your scan.
What Happens During a PET Scan?
When you arrive to have your PET scan, you will first have your blood sugar levels taken. Once that is completed, you will have an IV line started and a radiotracer will be injected into your body.This will give the PET scan the opportunity to show where the sugar metabolizes in your body. With this information, your doctors will then be able to tell if your cancer is growing.
This procedure takes anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes to begin working. Once you are ready for the scan to begin, you will have to lie on your back on a platform. The scan will take somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes, requiring you to stay still throughout. Any movement during the scan could affect the results.
After the scan, there will be a very little amount of radioactive sugar left in your body. Your doctor will recommend that you drink a good amount of water in order to flush these remnants out of your system.
Need a PET Scan?
If your doctor has recommended that you need to have a PET scan, we would suggest that you stop my our medical imaging office. Vision Imaging of Kingston has a caring staff and the experience needed to provide you with the best healthcare possible. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. We will make sure you are comfortable and that you understand every step of the process before it happens. We know how to ensure to ease of our patients regardless of which procedure they are having completed.