PET scan procedure
This Post is a continuation of the post what is pet scan. Please refer to this post if you haven’t already in order to make sense of this post. Thanks.
PET scan is a diagnostic imaging tool that is commonly used in cancer treatment, neurology and cardiology. A PET scan can produce multidimensional and color images of the inside working of the body. One of the reasons why PET scan is recommended is because it shows how a human organs looks like and its functionality within the body.
When PET scan is used to detect cancer, it gives the doctor a perfect view of how the cancer grows and the degree at which it spreads to other areas. It also shows if the cancer is responding to chemotherapy. All these information will guide a doctor in recommending the right medications for the patient.
PET scan is a sensitive medical examination; it has its own unique procedures which are discussed below. The procedures discuss in this article are divided into three namely; Preparation for the PET scan, During the PET scan and after the entire process.
Preparation for the PET scan
- Once you have fixed an appointment for a PET scan, you will be asked to take little or no carbohydrates 24hours before the Scan.
- Patients are not allowed to eat any food or drink any juices for about 6 hours before the examination. The only thing that is allowed to take is water; it will be helpful in the PET scanning process.
- Most times, patients are placed on routine medication except they have been advised otherwise. For patients that are diabetic, they must take their medication four hours before the examination.
- It is strongly advisable to arrive 15-30 minutes before the actual PET scanning.
- The technologist in the lab will verify your identity and ascertain if you were actually recommended to take the test.
- A contrast screening form will be given to the patient to fill
- Sometimes the doctor may ask the patient to take a lab test before the contrast form is given. It is based on the discretion of the doctor.
- The contrast is injected into the vein so that the PET scan three dimensional image will be well defined throughout the body.
During the PET scan
- There is not specific duration for the PET scan process, it differs. On the average you may spend about 2hours.
- While in the examination center, the technologist will direct you to position yourself on the examination table. During this time you will be required to stay still and hold your breath.
- You can ask the technologists question bothering on the entire PET scan process to clarify certain issues.
After the Procedure
- Immediately after the PET scan, it is recommended that the patient takes about 5 glasses of water
- Also after the examination, nursing mothers can’t breastfeed their babies immediately. Rather, they will wait for a minimum of 5 hours before they can resume their breast feeding activity for their baby.
- After PET scan, there is tendency of patient feeling symptoms like tremors, pains, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, etc. If you notice any of these symptoms, notify the technologist immediately. They are trained to handle situations like this if they come up. However, if you notice the symptoms after leaving the examination center, notify your doctor immediately.
What is PET scan?
The title of this post and probably the subsequent post may be misleading in title, but this is INTENTIONAL. People normally get confused about the meaning of PET scan because of the word ‘pet’ in it. It is for this reason that I decided to enlighten people about what PET scan really means and surprisingly it has absolutely nothing to do with pets! It is however a good idea to know what people mean when they talk about PET scan.
Technological advancement has cut across all areas including medical field. Medical profession is very easy and experts can now carry out different procedures due to the availability of different equipments. The equipment that is becoming very popular in the medical field is PET scan.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scan is used for producing detail 3 dimension’s images of the internal part of the body. It is a nuclear medicine imaging designed to create images of the body function and metabolism. The essence of using PET scan is to check the biological functionality of cells and organs in the body.
The images taken by PET scan indicate how the part of the body that is being investigated is functioning. With this, medical experts can easily tell if there is any area that isn’t functioning well and the likely cause of such default.
When more detailed images about the inner body function are required, experts will recommend that Pet scans should be combined with CT scan to get a more convincing result. This is known as PET-CT scan.
The PET scanners itself is made up of detectors arranged in a circular form. These detectors are tasked to pick up the pattern of radioactivity from the body’s radiopharmaceutical during the scanning process. After which a computer analyses the entire pattern and come up with a three dimensional colored image of the area being scanned. The degree of brightness as well as color in the PET image indicates how well the tissues and organs in your body perform.
PET scanners are very expensive to buy and operate; this is why they are not common like most other machines used in the medical field.
Why is a PET scan done?
There are several reasons why Positron emission tomography (PET) scan is carried out on people. Some of these reasons are;
- Diagnose Cancer: Positron emission tomography scan is recommended for patient to as to diagnose certain types of cancer. Though this is not applicable in all cancers situation, but for certain cases that need thorough medical investigation of the inside body.
- Determine the stage: PET scan can also be used to investigate how far cancer has spread and the extent to which it has affected other organs or tissues. PET scan is recommended when other imaging tests are unclear and inconclusive.
- Check the efficiency of Cancer treatment: PET scan can also be used to ascertain how effective a cancer treatment is and if there is positive result in the entire process.
- Recurrence of Cancer: PET scan can also be used to ascertain if cancer has reoccurred or spread to other location of the body. This procedure will show a full image of the cancerous cell and the degree to which it has spread to other location within the body.
- Nervous system and cardiovascular disease: PET scan can also be used to diagnose the nervous system and cardiovascular disease. It will unveil if there is anything wrong with the nervous system and if there is any cardiovascular threat to the body.