A PET/CT scan combines two different types of imaging scans during a single procedure with one machine. This technologically advanced screening combines two distinctive technologies to reveal critical information about the function and form of cells and organs inside the body.
Positron emission tomography(PET)is a nuclear imaging technique that uses radioactive tracers that are ingested or injected and then absorbed by body tissue. A scan will show areas of greater absorption (where more chemical activity is occurring in the body), which may indicate disease. PET scans can provide details about how well blood or oxygen travels throughout the body, how well sugar is processed, and more. A PET scan may reveal cancerous tissue not revealed by a CAT scan.
Computed tomography (CT)utilizes X-rays taken from different angles and then processed by a computer to create a 3D, cross-sectional image of the body. CT scans produce more accurate and precise images than X-rays. These scans can reveal the size, shape and location of a tumor, as well as the blood vessels feeding it.
The combined PET/CT scan provides information from a single imaging session about the cells, structures, and functioning of body tissues and organs, providing a more robust diagnosis than either scan can produce independently.
There are more advantages to having a PET/CT scan than there are disadvantages. What follows are some of the pros and cons of having this combined imaging procedure.
Advantages of PET/CT Scans
- Double the Diagnostic Clarity.Clearly, the fact that a PET scan and CT scan show different things, that when combined patients reap twice the diagnostic benefits. Alone, a PET scan will show areas of increased activity within the body – while a CT scan alone produces detailed images of tissues and organs inside the body. Together, the scans allow your doctor to see exactly where the issues are, and what may be contributing to it. It can help differentiate between a cancerous and noncancerous mass in the body.
- It is a relatively painless procedure that measures both anatomy and metabolic function within the patient’s body as images are captured in a single scan.
- The actual scan only takes about a half an hour to complete.
- Easy, Nondisruptive.Aside from the initial injection of the radioactive material, the exam is noninvasive and requires no recovery or downtime afterward. Patients may immediately assume normal activities after a PET/CT scan.
Disadvantages of PET/CT Scans
- Pregnant women should not undergo PET/CT scans because the radioactive tracers used may be dangerous to the baby. While the amount of radiation received is negligible and isn’t any more dangerous to patients than the exposure they’d receive from a low dose X-ray, pregnant women should avoid any exposure to radiation while pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Diabetics may undergo a PET/CT scan, but with certain precautions. Because the radioactive material is combined with glucose and then injected into the patient, this can be a concern for some diabetic patients. Before having a PET/CT scan, a diabetic patient’s blood sugar level will be evaluated, and a glucose serum blood test might be administered. This can significantly increase the time required to complete the testing.
Independent Imagingradiologists having extensive training in diagnostic and interventional radiology procedures, including cutting-edge PET/CT scans. For more information about PET/CT scans, call (561) 795-5558. We look forward to seeing you in one of our four convenient locations in Wellington, Belle Glade, Lake Worth, or Royal Palm Beach, Florida.