PET Scan: What You Need To Know

Difference: CT and PET-CT

A CT (Computed Tomography) scan and a PET-CT (Positron Emission Tomography - Computed Tomography) scan are different. They use different methods to image your body.

A CT scan uses X-rays. It gives detailed pictures of the structure of your organs or tissues. On the other hand, PET-CT scans use radioactive tracers in combination with CT scanning. They show how well your tissues or organs are working.

In summary, a CT scan shows what things look like inside you. A PET-CT scan shows how those things work. Both have their uses in medicine depending on what doctors need to know about your health condition.

Safe Use of PET-CT Scans

PET-CT scan combines two imaging techniques, PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and CT (Computed Tomography). PET shows the function of cells in your body. CT provides a detailed picture of the body's internal anatomy. Together they provide more precise information about cancer location, size, and growth.

Safety is key with PET-CT scans. The scans involve mild exposure to radiation. This exposure level is considered safe for adults. However, it may not be suitable for pregnant women or young children. Always let your doctor know if you are pregnant or have any other medical conditions before undergoing a scan.

Before the scan, you'll get an injection of radioactive glucose. This substance highlights areas in your body where cells are more active than normal - often indicating disease or injury. It's important to stay hydrated before and after the test to help flush out this tracer from your system quicker.

After having a PET-CT scan, avoid close contact with pregnant women and small children for at least six hours as a precautionary measure due to residual radiation exposure risk.

Remember: A single PET-CT scan does not pose significant health risks when used appropriately under professional supervision.

Preparing for a PET-CT Scan

A PET-CT scan is a type of imaging that combines the techniques of PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and CT (Computed Tomography) scans. It helps doctors diagnose health conditions and plan treatments. Preparing for a PET-CT scan involves some important steps.

Before your scan, you need to fast. Usually, this means not eating or drinking anything except water for 6 hours before the test. This includes avoiding chewing gum or mints as well. Make sure you're hydrated by drinking plenty of water ahead of time unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.

Your clothing choice matters too - wear comfortable clothes without metal zippers, buttons or underwire bras which can interfere with the scan images. You might also be asked to remove jewelry, glasses and dentures during the procedure.

Certain medications may interfere with your results so inform your healthcare provider about any prescription or over-the-counter drugs you take regularly including supplements and herbs.

Remember: each person's preparation instructions may vary based on their specific medical condition(s). Always follow the guidelines provided by your healthcare team carefully to ensure an accurate result from your PET-CT Scan.

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During the PET-Scan Process

During the PET-scan process, your job is simple: lie still. The machine does all the work. A trained technician will guide you throughout the procedure.

First, a small amount of radioactive tracer is introduced into your body. This can happen through injection, inhalation or swallowing. Don't worry - it's safe and wears off quickly. Its purpose? It helps to highlight areas of concern in your body.

Next comes the scan itself. You lie on a comfortable table which slides into a large doughnut-shaped scanner called PET-CT scanner – not as scary as it sounds! The scanner rotates around you, taking images from many angles while you stay perfectly still for about 30 minutes.

Afterwards, there are no special precautions needed – you can go back to a normal day's activities right away! However, drinking lots of water can help flush out any remaining tracer from your system faster.

Remember - understanding these steps makes you an informed patient who actively participates in their healthcare journey.

After the PET-Scan Procedure.

After the PET-Scan procedure, you may resume normal activities. You'll need to drink plenty of fluids. This helps flush remaining radioactive tracer from your body.

Side effects are rare after a PET scan. If they occur, it's usually mild discomfort at the injection site or allergic reaction to the tracer. Always report any side effects to your doctor promptly.

Remember, it takes time for results to be ready. A radiologist analyzes images and sends a report to your doctor within a few days. Your doctor then discusses these findings with you.

In conclusion, post-PET scan care is straightforward but crucial in ensuring patient safety and accurate results interpretation.