A blend of PET, Positron Emission Tomography, and CT, Computed Tomography scans is known as a PET CT Scan. The PET CT Scan is the most effective nuclear imaging technique for cancer diagnosis.
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What Is A PET CT Scan?
PET CT scan is a mixture of positron emission tomography and computed tomography which is the most effective nuclear imaging technique to diagnose cancer.
The full form of PET CT scan is Positron Emission Tomography Scan. A PET scan or a PET CT scan is used to recognize the tumors in the body that turns into cancer.
A certain amount of radioactive substance is infused into the vein. With the help of the substance, the PET scan machine can monitor the oxygen use, blood flow, and metabolism in your body at the cellular level.
CT scans produce precise images of the tissues and organs, whereas the PET scan reveals the activities of the tissues and organs, detailed results are provided when a CT scan and PET scan are combined.
How Is A PET Scan Performed?
- Talking about the procedure of a PET CT Scan, at the beginning of the procedure, a tiny amount of radioactive material (which helps in projecting accurate images) is injected into the body. It is not a painful process or the patient does not feel any different.
- Generally, the radioactive substance will automatically dissolve and be absorbed by the body within an hour. The patient is required to wait until then.
- Around an hour later, the patient is taken to a PET CT scan machine room and asked to lie on a table there. After lying in position, the horizontal table moves upwards into the machine and the patient will move into the imaging machine. This machine has a wider and larger opening than an MRI.
- Usually, it takes around one hour to complete the PET CT scan.
Why Is A Full-Body PET CT Scan Prescribed?
In order to diagnose and monitor cancer and its ongoing treatment, a PET CT Scan is prescribed. As many people are getting affected with cancer in India, PET CT Scans are required by medical doctors as they are a major key for cancer treatment.
Reasons for using PET Scan:
- Diagnose cancer
- Make decisions about cancer therapy
- Determine the effectiveness of the ongoing cancer treatment
- Brain disorders
- Disorders of heart
- Disorders of the central nervous system.
Prerequisites For PET CT Scan
The following are the prerequisites for a PET CT scan if the contrast dye is used in the procedure.
- Min. 8 hours of fasting. In the case of diabetics, stop the diabetic medications and ensure fasting blood sugar level should be 180mg/dl without taking medication on the day of the test.
- If you have any previous medical records like the old PET-CT report, it is advisable to carry them along to the lab.
- Report the lab 30 minutes prior to the scheduled time and you may be required to remain for at least 4 hours in the lab from the scheduled time.
Any Risk Associated With A PET Scan?
While taking a PET CT scan, the patient is exposed to X-ray radiation and a tiny amount of radiation from the radioactive drug. There isn’t much to worry about, as the radiation in the radioactive tracer is quite small and fades away very quickly.
This is generally considered not harmful to the body. However, women who are pregnant are generally advised not to take a PET CT Scan as the impact of its radiation on the growing baby is not known.
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