Positron emission tomography, or PET scans, are used to evaluate and detect possible diseases and conditions. PET scans are used by a variety of specialists to gather information on a plethora of conditions.
This imaging test makes use of a radioactive drug called a tracer, which shows the state of an individual’s organs and tissues. Most of the time, PET scans are used alongside MRI and CT scans for an accurate diagnosis.
Conditions Detected by PET Scans
This imaging test is performed so that your doctor can properly assess and accurately identify any possible conditions you may have. Here are some of the things a PET scan can detect in your body:
- Vital Functions – PET scans are useful in measuring your blood sugar, blood flow, and oxygen use. This information can help point out if some organs aren’t functioning well.
- Cancer – Compared to healthy cells, cancer cells have a higher metabolic rate. A variety of cancer cells become visible as bright spots in the images of PET scans. PET scans can help detect cancer and how far it has spread. PET scans can show solid tumors in the brain, prostate, thyroid, lungs, and cervix. The scans can also evaluate the occurrence of colorectal, lymphoma, melanoma, and pancreatic tumors. They are also used to assess if treatment is being effective in eliminating cancer.
- Brain Disorders – Apart from finding tumors in the brain, PET scans can also see the state of a patient’s brain and identify disorders such as seizures, memory disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Heart Disease – PET scans can help your doctor assess the severity of your coronary heart disease and help your doctor determine if you require surgery. The scan can also reveal damage in the body after a heart attack, particularly if it has to do with weak blood flow in the heart.
Preparing for a PET Scan
A procedure for a PET scan usually takes two hours, which means it doesn’t require an overnight stay. Upon arriving at the clinic, you will have to put on a hospital gown and empty your bladder. You will receive a radioactive drug which is also called a tracer. The tracer, which takes 30–60 minutes to take effect, will help the images of the scan to be clear and visible.
Remember to inform your doctor if you have diabetes. Furthermore, make sure to mention if you are taking any types of supplements and medications. It is also worth mentioning if you have a medical condition or have been recently sick.
The PET scan itself will be painless. You will lie down on a padded table that will slide into the doughnut-shaped scanner. While the scan is happening, you have to be as still as possible to ensure the clarity of the images. After completing the scan, make sure to drink a lot of water so that the tracer is removed from your body.
PET Scans in Florida
The experts at Independent Imaging offer a variety of imaging tests that all types of doctors can use to make accurate and early diagnoses. If your doctor has recommended you get a PET scan, we would love to help.
For more information about our imaging services, please call us at (561) 795-5558. You may also request an appointment through our online form.