pet-ctPositron Emission Tomography, commonly called PET, is a form of Nuclear Medicine imaging which uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose certain diseases within the body. This radioactive material called a radiotracer is injected into the body. A PET scan will acquire images showing where the radiotracer is absorbed within the specific areas of the body being scanned.

At Sun Radiology the PET images are fused or superimposed with a CT scan to provide a 3 dimensional image of the body and give physicians a clear picture of both function and structure of organs and other body parts.

PET/CT is used by physicians to determine evidence of disease, determine treatment, effectiveness of treatment, and to evaluate brain and heart function.

If you are Diabetic and insulin-dependent, please contact Sun Radiology Scheduling @ 623-815-8200 (select option 1) for additional instructions.

If you are nursing, pregnant or there is a chance that you could be pregnant, notify the technologist at 623-815-8200 (select option1) and your physician before the exam.

How Do I Know If I Should Have a PET Scan?

PET--ctThese questions might help you decide if you should be screened. If you answer ” yes” to any one of them, you might benefit from a memory screening.

  • Am I becoming more forgetful?
  • Family history of Alzheimer’s dementia.
  • Do I have trouble concentrating?
  • Do I have difficulty performing familiar tasks?
  • Do I have trouble recalling words or names in conversation?
  • Do I sometimes forget where I am or where I am going?
  • Have family or friends told me that I am repeating questions or saying the same thing over and over again?
  • Am I misplacing things more often?
  • Have I become lost when walking or driving?
  • Have my family or friends noticed changes in my mood, behavior, personality, or desire to do things?
  • If you have a history of cancer and you have never had a PET scan.
  • If you have a history of heart diseases, chest pain, angina or myocardial infarction (heart attack).

How to Prepare for a PET Scan

When scheduled for a PET/CT scan expect to spend up to 2-3 hours at the clinic for the exam. Wear warm, comfortable clothing with no snaps, zippers or metal. You may be asked to change into a gown for the exam. Due to the nature of the exam specific radiotracer used in this study – it is important to be on time for the exam. All cancellations must be made 24 hours before scheduled exam.

Preparations for the PET/CT Exam are very important. Beginning 24 hours prior to the exam a NO Carbohydrate/NO Sugar Diet must be followed. No strenuous activity or exercise 24 hours prior to your exam. Do not eat or drink (except water) 6 hours prior to the exam. No caffeine, nicotine, sugar or alcohol 12 hours prior to exam. Drink 20 oz. of water the day of the exam. If you are a Diabetic please call our office for special instructions and speak to out PET/CT technologist directly.

pet-thUpon arrival for your appointment you will be injected with the radiotracer. You will feel a slight pin prick at the injection site. You will be asked to lie quietly, without movement and without talking for 30-45 minutes while the radiotracer moves throughout your body or into the area being studied. You will be moved to the PET/CT Scanner. The Technologist will position you on the examination table. The PET scanner is a donut-shaped ring similar to a CT scanner. You will be asked to lie still for a period of time usually 1-2 hours while the camera records the emission of energy from the radiotracer in your body. The scan is painless; some discomfort may result while remaining in one position for the duration of the scan.

After the exam is complete you will be instructed to drink water to assist in the removal of the radiotracer through urine and stool. Through the natural process of radioactive decay the radiotracer will lose it’s radioactivity within approximately 24 hours.

Your physician will receive a report from the radiologist on the results of the scan.

For more information, please view these brochures:

A Patient’s Guide to PET/CT Imaging
Dealing with Concerns about Memory & Alzheimer’s Disease

Useful Links

PET/CT FDG http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=pet
PET/CT Fluoride http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=pet
PET/CT Amyloid http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=alzheimers
Cardiac PET/CT http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=cardinuclear