PET Scan Procedure

PET Scan Procedure

May 18
11:53 2017

The PET scan procedure is rather simple for
the patient. The PET scan is virtually painless and should not cause any
discomfort. The preparation for the PET scan procedure takes longer than the
PET scan itself. If the PET scan is combined with a CT scan, the CT scan will
be conducted first, immediately followed by the PET scan. After both scans are
finished, additional images may be needed. If more images are needed, it does
not mean that any abnormalities were found and the patient should not worry if
this is the case.

The PET scan is most often conducted in an outpatient basis. This means that
patients undergoing a PET scan can leave the medical center the same day as
they came in. However, if necessary, PET scans can be conducted on an inpatient
basis as well, meaning the patient will be staying the hospital over night.

The patient will first lay down on the examination table. The radiotracer is
administered to the patient either intravenously (injected into the vein), in
pill form, or inhaled in gas form. It takes about one hour for the radiotracer
to reach the desired part of the body and be fully absorbed. During this time
the patient must remain in the same position, and will be told to not talk and
to stay as still as possible. This assures that the radiotracer will reach the
desired part of the body as quickly and safely as possible. In many cases,
patients are required to drink contrast liquid which will help the health care
provider see the part of the body in question much clearer.

One hour after the radiotracer is administered, the patient will be placed into
the PET scanner and the machine will begin taking images. The patient must not
move during the scan, as this can interrupt the scan and ruin the quality of
the images being taken. As previously mentioned, the CT scan will be conducted
first, and the PET scan will follow right after the CT scan finishes. It takes
about a half hour to conduct both the CT and PET scans.

Once both scans are completed, the patient will remain in the same position
until their health care provider removes them from the machine. They cannot
move right away, because the health care provider must first determine that
there is no reason for further testing. From when the testing begins to when it
ends, takes about an hour and a half, if everything goes smoothly.

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