PET/CT Exam Description
After reviewing your medical history, and any prior exams that might be available, you’ll receive an injection of an isotope (radiopharmaceutical). After the isotope is injected, you’ll rest for 45 minutes while it distributes itself into the organs of your body. This is a small tracer quantity of radioactive material that is attached to glucose/sugar. Because sugar is needed by cells for energy, the PET scanner can track the amount of sugar used by cells throughout the body by picking up signals from this tracer. Since cancer cells use and trap more energy/sugar than healthy cells, a high concentration of the tracer indicates there could be cancer in that area.
Next, we have you lay down on a comfortable table for scanning. The table slowly moves through the ring-like PET scanner as it acquires the information needed to generate the diagnostic images. You must remain still because movement can interfere with the results. Please allow 3 hours total time for a melanoma exam and 2 hours total time for all other PET exams (this includes the 45-minute rest period).
Once the scanning is complete, you are free to leave. Unless you’ve received special instructions, you’ll be able to eat and drink immediately after the exam.
Note: Please notify us of a cancellation by 5:00 PM the day prior to the exam (or Friday by 5:00 PM for a Monday exam) to avoid an isotope charge.