Highly advanced technology for an accurate diagnosis of your health
Positron emission tomography (PET) enables your Hurley radiologist to see abnormal tissue while most normal tissue remains almost invisible. This makes it easy to scan the entire body and find abnormal tissue that would be difficult to find with a CT scan or MRI.
Because tissue is virtually invisible to PET, if PET finds something unusual, it is hard to know exactly where the abnormal tissue is located. The CT scan sees all tissue in fine detail and can easily locate tissue within the body.
The advantage of both scans working together
PET uses radioactive sugar to help single out and identify abnormal tissue. When you are resting, most of your body does not use very much sugar. However, some abnormal tissue uses a lot of sugar because it is growing rapidly. When radioactive sugar is injected into your body, abnormal tissue absorbs more of the radioactive sugar than normal tissue does. Because the sugar is radioactive, the PET scanner can see where the sugar in your body is going and can find the abnormal tissue. The CT scanner can then determine the exact location of the abnormal tissue.
PET/CT scanning equipment: details
The PET/CT scanning equipment looks like a tube, about 2½ feet in diameter and 5 feet long. Even patients that are mildly claustrophobic have no problems having a PET/CT scan. However, if you think you might be overly uncomfortable in the scanner, you should talk to your doctor about your concerns.
PET/CT scanning is safe
PET/CT scan radioactivity goes away very quickly. In fact, the radioactivity that will be used for your scan lasts less than a day. By the time you leave the PET/CT facility, more than 90% of the radioactivity will be gone, and by the following day it will be all gone. This makes PET/CT as safe as other types of scans and x-rays that have been commonly used in medicine for 40 years. It also means that after your scan is completed, you can resume your normal activities.
The PET/CT scanning procedure: what to expect
- Plan to spend about three hours at the PET/CT center.
- Wear comfortable clothing. Avoid clothes with metal in them, like metal buttons, rivets or underwires. Do not wear jewelry.
- Do not eat or drink anything except water, starting six hours prior to your registration time.
- Do not chew gum prior to your scan.
- It is a good idea to drink a few more glasses of water than you normally would in the six hours prior to the scan.
- Prescription medicine can be taken before coming toyour exam, but only with water. If you take medicine that must be taken with food, ask your doctor if you should skip taking the medicine during the six hours prior to your scan.
- Let us know if you are pregnant, think you might be pregnant, or are a nursing mother.
- Let us know if you are diabetic, claustrophobic, or have difficulty lying on your back.
- Do not exercise strenuously during the 24 hours before your scan.
After registration, the PET/CT technologist will escort you to the PET scan area. The technologist will explain the procedure and ask you about your medical history. The doctors who will be interpreting your scan need this information. Then, the technologist will insert an IV into a vein in your arm or the back of your hand. The technologist will also take a blood sample to determine the amount of sugar in your blood. (If you eat or drink liquids other than water within six hours before your scan, your blood sugar may be too high and the scan will have to be rescheduled.)
Next, the technologist will inject the radioactive sugar into your body through the IV. Once the sugar is injected, you will rest quietly for one to two hours while your body absorbs the sugar. Much of the radioactive sugar will end up in the urine in your bladder. After the rest period, the technologist will allow you to use the restroom. The technologist will then take you to the PET/CT scanner, which consists of a bed that moves through a tube which is 2-½ feet in diameter and five feet long. The technician will provide you with pillows and pads to help you get comfortable. The PET/CT scan will take about 30 minutes. Extra pictures may also be taken of your lungs, liver or abdomen depending on your doctor’s questions and the area to be examined. During that time, it is very important that you lie as still as possible.
After your PET/CT scan
After the scan, you are free to resume your normal diet and activities. You should drink additional fluids for several hours after the scan. You can expect the results of the scan to be available to your physician within two to three business days after the scan. Your doctor will notify you when your scan results are ready.
PET/CT Scans available from an outdoor mobile unit
PET/CT Scans are available outdoors on Thursdays in a mobile unit at Hurley’s Eastside Campus, 2700 Longway Boulevard in Flint, on the corner of Dort Highway and Robert T. Longway Boulevard.
If you need to cancel your PET/CT scan appointment:
A special radioisotope is ordered and delivered for your PET/CT exam. If you CANNOT keep your appointment, you MUST CANCEL your appointment at least 48 hours in advance.
To schedule a PET/CT scan, please call (866) 667-7226.