PET Scan

PET Scan

PET Scan
May 18
11:53 2017

Most health care providers agree that the PET scan is
one of the most helpful tools in diagnosing cancer and many other types of
diseases. PET scans are primarily used to diagnose tumors, various heart
diseases, and infections and/or diseases involving the nervous system. PET
scans use intense radiation technology to produce clear images of the area of
the body in question, which will clearly show any abnormalities if they exist.
Radiotracers are given to the patient, which basically high light the desired
part of the body in the images. Different parts of the body, such as tissue and
nerves will appear in different bright colors. A tumor, or any sort of
abnormalities will also appear in a color that greatly contrasts the rest of the
organ or area of the body. When a CT scan is combined with the PET scan, it
results in much clearer images, that greatly benefit the health care provider
in finding a tumor or other diseases.

Scan Applications

PET scans are used in three major areas of medicine. They are oncology,
cardiology, and neurology. Oncology involves the study of tumors. Oncology
deals with how tumors form, develop, grow, and metastasize, as well as how to
treat and possibly prevent them from occurring in the first place. Cardiology
studies how the heart functions, how it is put together, and diseases and/or
infections that can occur within it. Neurology deals with how the nervous
system works, infections, and diseases that occur within it, and how to treat
and possibly prevent them. The PET scan is able to show images of inside the
body, which will clearly show if any tumors exist, as well as abnormalities in
the heart and/or nervous system.

of PET Scans

There are very limited disadvantages of PET scans. When compared to the
advantages, the risks can be well worth it, as the PET scan can help in saving
lives from tumors and other infections or diseases. The cyclotron is an
important machine used in PET scans. This machine exposes the patient to
radiation. Radiation, in high doses can be very harmful to humans. The
radiation that the patient is exposed to during a PET scan is about the same as
two X-ray exams. This is a very small amount of radiation. However, patients
who are exposed to lots of radiation from their job or anywhere else, can face
a greater risk when undergoing a PET scan. Even though it is a small amount of
radiation, it does mean that patients who get a PET scan can only have this
scan done a certain amount of times, to limit the amount of radiation that they
are exposed to.

Another major disadvantage of PET scans are the cost. A PET scan will cost, on
average, about eleven hundred dollars. While some health insurance polices do
cover PET scans, many do not because of the cost as well as the availability of
the PET scan machines. The machines that are needed to perform a PET scan are
extremely expensive and, as a result, many hospitals do not have them. The
matter of cost, and how many health insurance policies do not cover PET scans,
as well as those who do not have any health insurance, make this a serious
problem for people who would greatly benefit from a PET scan.

With CT and MRI scans

The combination of PET scans with CT scans is a newer concept that has proven
to be extremely helpful and productive. While the PET scan alone will show how
the studied area of the body is functioning, adding the CT scan will result in
much clearer images of the area of the body that is question. When combined,
the CT scan is performed first, followed by the CT scan. Combining these two
scans has benefited both health care providers and patients so much, that many
machines used to perform PET scans now come equipped with the tools necessary
to conduct a CT scan. A PET/CT scan is slowly, but surely, becoming the norm.

The combination of the PET scan with the MRI scan is still being studied and
tested on its effectiveness. These tow scans together create extremely powerful
magnetic fields that most of the body can not handle. Tests done on the
combination of the two, show that as of now, only the head and brain can
withstand the magnet field created by the two scans. Further testing continues.

Scan Procedure

The PET scan procedure does not cause any pain or discomfort. The procedure,
including preparation, should take about an hour and a half. The preparation,
while not difficult, takes longer than the scan itself. Most patients having a
PET scan done are outpatients, meaning they will be able to leave the hospital
the same day as they came in. However, PET scans can be done on people who are
staying in the hospital over night.

The patient will lay on the examination table and the health care provider will
give them the radiotracer. The radiotracer is administered by either injection
into the vein, in pill form, or inhaled in gas form. It takes about one hour
for the radiotracer to be fully absorbed by the desired area of the body.
Sometimes, the patient will be required to drink liquids that will make the
images clearer. This is called contrast material. Once the radiotracer is
administered, the patient can not move or talk. This is to make sure that the
radiotracer is absorbed quickly and safely. Once the radiotracer is absorbed,
the patient will be moved into the scanner. If both the CT and PET scans are
being combined, it will take about a half hour for both scans to be conducted.
The patient will not feel anything abnormal while the scans are being
performed. Once the scans are completed, the patient must remain still, until
the health care provider is sure that no additional images need to be taken.

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