What Is Positron Emission Tomography (PET)?

PET or Positron Emission Tomography is a nuclear medicine examination. The procedure is simple; an injection of a short lived radioactive tracer is given, similar to a blood test. This material is usually a form of sugar. After about an hour of quiet waiting to allow the material to become concentrated in the tissues, a CT scan is performed followed by the PET scan. The PET scan is then viewed in conjunction with the CT scan. The uptake of this material allows the Radiologist to determine how your cells are functioning and how quickly they are reproducing. 

PET can be used to evaluate Oncology treatments for cancer. PET can evaluate the response to treatment and is useful in evaluating most malignancies. PET can also evaluate your heart muscle after a heart attack. The radiologist can also evaluate your brain; it has proven very useful in Alzheimer’s disease and seizure disorders.

Preparation For Positron Emission Tomography

Each exam requires a specific preparation and this preparation is quite critical. It is important to follow the instructions given by our staff when scheduling the appointment for the best test results.

Exam Time

Usually the exam is about an hour and a half to two hours. After the injection you wait quietly for 60 minutes. There is then an additional 30-60 minutes for the actual scan to be performed.

Exam Results

After your exam, the radiologist will review your images and a report will be sent directly to your physician. Reports are available within 24 to 72 hours.