The Importance of having a PET scan in Texas
PET imaging offers substantial benefits over anatomic imaging modalities in oncologic imaging. A PET scan can distinguish between a malignant lesion and a benign one. The basis of PET imaging is the labeling of small biologically important molecules such as amino acids, sugars, receptor-binding ligands, nucleic acids or even molecular oxygen and water, with positron-emitting radionuclides.
- The purpose of a PET scan – A PET scan shows what is happening in the body cells. Diseases cause changes in the way cells work in the body, and a PET scan helps doctors to find the disease.
- The PET imaging procedure – PET utilizes radioactive material made up of radioactive isotopes attached to a sugar (glucose). It travels throughout the body and gathers in active cells such as cancer cells which use a lot of energy. The radioactive material emits tiny positively charged particles known as positrons. A camera records the positrons and converts the recording into pictures on a computer. It is a simple procedure that takes approximately half an hour.
- Why a PET scan is necessary – A PET scan is most often used in patients with conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and brain conditions. In cancer, it helps doctors to test for the disease to see if it has spread, prepare for surgery, monitor if the treatment is working and determine if the cancer has recurred after treatment.
- PET scan results – A PET scan will detect areas with heavy activity in the cells (like cell growth) that may be an indication of disease. During the scan, more radioactive material will collect in the cancer cells than the normal cells and will appear brighter on the image. PET scan results can be used with other imaging and lab test to get accurate results about the activities taking place in a patient’s body.
The doses of radioactive materials used in nuclear medicine imaging are usually different for each test. The radioactive dose depends on the type of procedure and the part of the body being examined. The radioactive material dose used during a PET scan is minimal, and a patient is exposed to low radiation levels during a PET test. The benefits of a PET scan often outweigh the risk of radiation exposure that is administered in small amounts.