Positron Emission Tomography/Computerized Tomography (PET/CT)
PET/CT Scanning in Monticello
PET/CT scanning is an effective way to find early signs of disease and
cancer before the symptoms start to manifest. This imaging technique is
a combination of
nuclear medicine and
CT scanning. These scans track molecular activity in the body that helps doctors identify
premature diseases and track how a patient is responding to various kinds
of treatments. By reviewing the patient’s use of oxygen, metabolism,
and blood flow, doctors can identify areas where there is increased glucose
activity. Once these spots are pinpointed, doctors closely monitor them
to see if tumors develop.
How Does it Work?
A radioactive isotope “tracer” is introduced into the body.
This can be done through injection, swallowing the material, or inhaling
a special gas. The method required varies depending on what part of the
body is being imaged. Once the tracer has reached the designated part
of the body, the technologist will perform a CT scan followed by a PET
scan. The amount of time scanning takes varies, with simpler tests lasting
only 30 minutes, while more in-depth tests can go up to three hours.
PET/CT scans can be used for:
- Cancer diagnosis
- Determining if cancer has spread
- Finding tumors
- Evaluating brain damage or abnormalities
- Monitoring effectiveness of cancer treatments
PET/CT scans are painless and safe. Patients are exposed to slight radiation
exposure, but the amount is comparable to a standard x-ray. These scans
have been in use for over 50 years, and to date there are no known long
term side effects. If you have recently undergone other diagnostic tests
from other medical professionals, be sure to inform your doctor. It can
be dangerous to have several radioactive diagnostic tests performed back to back.
If you had the test performed as an outpatient (without being admitted
to a hospital), you will probably be allowed to go home once the technologist
has confirmed the test was successful. The radiation dose given stays
in the body for a short time period and is quickly eliminated with fluid
intake following the exam. After a radiologist has interpreted the results
of the test, they will forward their findings to your doctor.
For more information on PET/CT tests, call (217) 762-1826. Kirby Medical
Center is staffed by knowledgeable medical professionals who will be happy
to assist you.