Please choose from the following questions to learn more.

What is a PET scan?
What is a PET/CT scan?
What are the benefits?
Why is my doctor recommending a PET or PET/CT scan?
What should I expect?
Is PET safe?
What happens after my scan?
What is a radiopharmaceutical?
When will I get my results?
Are there any potential side effects to a PET scan?
Are there alternatives to PET?
How often should I have a PET scan?
Why is PET not well known? Why have I never heard of PET before?
Does my insurance cover PET scans?
How many PET studies are performed per year?
Is a PET scan painless?

What is a PET scan?
PET – Positron Emission Tomography is a powerful imaging that is used to diagnose and treat of many diseases such as cancer, heart disease and brain disorders. PET scanning provides a more complete picture, making it easier for your doctor to diagnose problems, determine the extent of disease, prescribe treatment and track progress.  A non-invasive test, PET scans accurately image the cellular activity of the human body.
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What is a PET/CT scan?
PET – Positron Emission Tomography and CT – Computed Tomography scans are both standard imaging tools that physicians use to pinpoint disease states in the body. A PET scan images the cellular activity of the body at a very early stage, many times before anatomical changes take place. The CT scan provides information about the body’s anatomy such as size, shape and location. By combining these two scanning technologies, a PET/CT scan enables physicians to more accurately diagnose and identify cancer, heart disease and brain disorders.
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What are the benefits?
PET scans provide the physician with valuable information. For cancer patients it may help diagnose the extent of disease, guide the most effective therapy, and then help evaluate if the treatment is effective. PET scans also aid in the diagnosis of heart disease and neurological diseases. This type of imaging can show changes much earlier than other imaging tests like CT or MRI.
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Why is my doctor recommending a PET or PET/CT scan? 
PET scans are most often used to help the physician detect cancer and monitor response to treatment. PET scans are also used to evaluate heart disease, neurological conditions and other physiological problems.  A single PET or PET/CT exam can provide information that once would have required several medical studies and possibly surgery.
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What should I expect?
Upon arrival you will receive an injection of radioactive glucose, which will take approximately 60 minutes to distribute throughout your body. You will be asked to empty your bladder and then lie down on the scanner bed. The scan takes approximately 15-35 minutes, depending upon the type of scan you are having and the type of scanner being used. It is important that you lie still during this process. If you need pain medication please bring it with you. You should plan on being at the imaging facility for approximately 2 to 3 hours.
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Is PET safe?
The risks associated with a PET scan are very minimal. All molecular and nuclear imaging procedures are very safe. PET imaging is a nuclear imaging procedure. They are noninvasive which eliminates many various risks.

Radiation exposure is minimal in nuclear imaging procedures due to the fact that the amount of radiopharmaceutical used is extremely small. The amount of radiation in most nuclear medicine procedures is comparable to that received during a CT scan.

Family members are not at risk for exposure since most of the radioactivity has left the body or decomposed before the patient has left the center.
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What happens after my scan? 
Once the PET scan is complete, you will be able to leave the imaging facility. Make sure you drink plenty of water or other fluids throughout the day to help flush the FDG from your body.
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What is a radiopharmaceutical? 
A radiopharmaceutical is a radioactive drug. The most commonly used PET radiopharmaceutical is a radioactive form of glucose (sugar). To begin the PET procedure, a small amount of glucose is injected into your bloodstream. There is no danger to you from this injection. Glucose is a common substance that every cell in your body needs in order to function. Diabetic patients do not need to worry; it would take 1,000,000 doses of this radiopharmaceutical to equal the glucose in 1 teaspoon of sugar. Radiopharmaceuticals must pass multiple quality control measures before it is used for any patient injection.
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When will I get my results? 
You should contact your referring doctor to discuss the results. The PET scan is interpreted by a trained nuclear medicine physician or radiologist and results are usually sent to the referring physician within 24-48 hours.


Are there any potential side effects to a PET scan? 
There are no side effects to having a PET scan. Just make sure you drink plenty of water and check with your physician if you have any concerns.
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Are there alternatives to PET? 
There are examinations that can be performed, but none are on the same performance level of PET technology.  There is no other metabolic (biological) scanning technique other than PET at this time. CT and MRI, for example, both examine the anatomical (physical) structure. Therefore, they can be useful in determining the size and location of a tumor. However, neither of them can determine whether a tumor is still metabolically active.
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How often should I have a PET scan? 
If you are under a physician’s care, you should follow your physician’s recommendations for frequency of PET scans.
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Why is PET not well known? Why have I never heard of PET before? 
PET has been around for many years, but originally was used only in research. As the technology grew, PET procedures were performed only in dedicated imaging facilities.  Now, private companies are producing radiopharmaceuticals for distribution to imaging facilities across the country making it feasible for more medical facilities to offer PET scanning.
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Does my insurance cover PET scans? 
Many PET scans are covered by private insurance and Medicare.  Pre-authorization is advised and will be conducted by PET/CT of Las Colinas.
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How many PET studies are performed per year? 
Approximately 1.5 to 1.7 million PET scans were performed last year. The number of PET scans performed increases dramatically every year.
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Is a PET scan painless? 
The only pain involved is the needle prick when you receive the radiopharmaceutical injection.  It is exactly the same as any other type of injection.
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