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Results are usually rendered within 24 hours and often in the same day. Your report will be sent to your physician as soon as the radiologist has completed the interpretation. If requested by your physician, or if there is an urgent finding, your physician will be called with the results. REQUEST REPORT
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PET stands for Positron emission tomography and a PET Scan is a sophisticated diagnostic imaging test that detects the biologic or metabolic activity of every organ in the body through the detection of positrons that are emitted after a patient is injected with a tiny/tracer dose of a radiopharmaceutical.
Today, PET Scans are fused with computed tomography (CT or CAT Scan, See WHAT IS A CT SCAN?) known as PET/CT so that the combination or fusion of the two modalities allows for the analysis of both anatomic and metabolic information acquired in one simple and efficient diagnostic imaging test.
Though it varies based on several factors, most patients can expect to be at the center for about two hours. Please understand that imaging sooner (as is done at other imaging centers for marketing purposes) affects the quality and accuracy of the exam as our academic radiologists recognize that the technology is dynamic, that each exam is tailored for each patient and the radiopharmaceutical needs enough time for uptake into different organs and tissues.
A PET/CT helps physicians characterize, stage, and treat malignancies and can determine response to treatment with much greater accuracy that CT alone.
A PET scan is safety compliant and completely painless. You will not feel any different after the injection, during or after the scan.
Fasting is required for patients to lower serum blood sugar level so that FDG does not compete with the injected glucose to be visualized as it is transported into lesions present. Similarly, avoid sugar at least 12 hours before your scan.
It is important that you do not exercise 24 hours before your PET scan as it increases glucose uptake in skeletal muscles and can obscure underlying disease.
Do not take any diabetic medications prior to your exam. You may take all other medications.
Please refrain from taking your diabetic medication prior to injection and scan. If your serum glucose (self-test) is running high, let us know when the best time of day is when your glucose is at its lowest and we will schedule your time accordingly.
Once the total scan has been performed, you may resume your daily activities. Even though the FDG will quickly leave your body, you can expedite the process by drinking plenty of water after your scan is complete.
A PET scan is totally safe and there are no known side effects.
Using x-ray technology and computers to reconstruct the x-ray data into a two-dimensional image, a computed axial tomography (CT or CAT) scan creates an anatomic display of the internal structures (bones and soft tissues) for any body part by distinguishing differences in density.
The CT scanner is designed with low radiation exposure (approximately equivalent to the amount of radiation we receive annually on earth) to patients as required by several governing organizations for your protection. It is non-invasive, painless and considered a very safe procedure.
The time required depends upon the type of scan and part of the body being imaged. If oral contrast is required, there is a pre scan prep time of approximately two hours needed for the contrast to move through your digestive tract. (You can prep from home after obtaining the barium). Actual scan times vary from a few seconds to several minutes. If no oral contrast is required, the examination will take about 15 to 30 minutes, including the time for intravenous preparation and interview.
There is no special preparation for CT scans in diabetic patients not receiving contrast. If you are having a CT SCAN with contrast and have kidney failure history, DO NOT take your diabetes medication 48 hours prior to your exam.
Barium sulfate works by coating the inside of your esophagus, stomach, or intestines which allows these anatomic structures to be more clearly differentiated from surrounding structures of similar density.
For some CT scans, contrast is injected into a vein. This contrast allows blood vessels to be more clearly identified from surrounding structures of similar density.
If you do not fast and have food on your stomach, and get an injection of IV contrast, you could become nauseated. Aside from your discomfort, there is the danger of vomiting while lying down, which could cause you to aspirate.
If you are having a CT SCAN with contrast and you are diabetic with kidney failure history, do NOT take diabetes medication 48 hours prior the exam. Otherwise, you may take your prescribed medications.
Yes, you can exercise and do your regular routine the day before and after your CT scan.
After the CT scan is completed and the technologist is sure enough information has been obtained, you may leave and go about your normal routines with no restrictions. If you have received contrast for your exam, you should drink plenty of liquids for the next 24 hours.
Nuclear Medicine FAQs
There are multiple parts to a nuclear medicine bone scan done at different times depending on the clinical question and as required by the radiologist. You will receive an injection into a vein in your arm that usually takes ten minutes, then you will then return for delayed images after approximately three hours.
There is no special preparation for a bone scan.
A bone scan is a nuclear imaging test that helps diagnose many types of bone and joint disease based on the pattern seen on the scan.
A gastric emptying scan uses a nuclear medicine scanner to determine how quickly food leaves the stomach by ingesting a small amount of radioactive material and watching it leave.
Do not eat or drink 6- 8 hours prior to your exam. You will consume oatmeal to complete this exam.
A multiple-gated acquisition (MUGA) scan is an outpatient imaging test that looks at how well the heart’s left ventricle is pumping blood out to your body. The MUGA scan uses a small amount of radioactive material injected into a vein that stays in the blood long enough to see how your heart pumps blood in and out of the left ventricular chamber. The technologist will ask you to simply lie on an exam table of a scanner and will attach electrodes for an EKG. This test calculates your heart’s left ventricular ejection fraction, a measurement of how well your heart pumps blood with each beat. There is no special preparation required for this test and no medication or food restrictions.
A Hepatobiliary Iminodiacetic Acid (HIDA) scan with cholecystokinin (CCK) is a nuclear medicine procedure that traces the flow of bile from the liver to the gallbladder and into the small intestine. Your doctor may recommend this test as part of the diagnostic workup in patients with suspected biliary tract disorders or abdominal pain with suspected biliary cause. CCK is cholecystokinin and is administered during the scan to evaluate gallbladder function. The HIDA scan with CCK requires you to fast for six hours prior to the scan (no water allowed). You should discuss any pain medications you take with your doctor to determine if they temporarily need to be stopped for at least 24hrs as some can alter scan results.
A DatScan is used to determine any disruption in the neuro pathways that are responsible for Parkinson’s Disease. The test involves a radioactive injection in your vein followed by imaging the brain to detect dopamine transporters (DaT) making it particularly helpful in discriminating between diseases with similar symptoms including Parkinson’s disease, Parkinsonian Syndrome, and Essential Tremor. To optimize scan quality, you must be able to lay on your back for at least 30 minutes with your head slightly tilted back. There is no specific prep for a DAT scan. On the day of your procedure, you will arrive for an injection and you may leave the center to return approximately 3 hours later for your brain scan.
A parathyroid scan is used to identify and localize patients with hyperparathyroidism or overactive parathyroid glands looking for a parathyroid adenoma. There are no special preparation instructions for this scan. When you arrive, the technologist will explain the exam and will inject a tiny radioactive substance in your vein that is taken up by parathyroid adenomas. You will not feel anything from the radioactive substance and will be scanned twice. Feel free to call us if you have any questions regarding this exam.
Before your exam you must NOT have had X-ray exams involving iodine contrast (such as IVP or CT) in the last 4-6 weeks. Forty-eight hours prior to your exam you should avoid broccoli, cabbage or seafood. Patients on thyroid medications, should stop taking thyroid hormone medicine (Synthroid, Cytomel, levothyroxine, lithyronine) four weeks prior to the exam and stop taking anti-thyroid hormones, Propothyrouracil (PTU), Methimazole, or Tapazole seven days before this test. Please make sure to check with your doctor before you stop taking any of these medicines.
A nuclear medicine thyroid uptake scan is a 2-day test that studies the structure and function of the thyroid gland by swallowing a small pill with a tiny radioactive substance which is taken up by your thyroid gland and is detected by a special imaging scanner. The scan is performed on day one 4 to 6 hours after swallowing the pill and takes around 20-30 minutes. On the following day, you will return for a scan that takes around 5 minutes.
A nuclear stress test also known as a myocardial perfusion scan is a test performed to measure blood flow from your heart vessels to determine if there is heart muscle at risk of ischemia (diminished blood flow). The test is performed by injecting a tiny amount of radioactive substance into your vein and uses a specialized imaging scanner (gamma camera) to image your heart. An electrocardiogram (EKG) will be performed at the same time to monitor your heart’s electrical rhythm both during exercise (stress) and without exercise (rest). The stress portion of the study can be done with a treadmill (exercise stress) or by the administration of medicine (known as a pharmacological stress). Your physician will determine which stress method is ideal for you.
Nuclear stress tests have been proven to be safe and reliable. Sometimes patients feel warmth and mild shortness of breath for a few seconds and is otherwise painless.
You must fast to assure the optimal conditions for uptake of the isotope and to prevent any chance of nausea or vomiting. Caffeine inhibits the effect of the pharmacological stress agent.
Most medicines are fine to take before your stress test. When we schedule, we will give you further instructions. For example, patients who walk on the treadmill are typically instructed not to take beta blockers unless directed by their doctor to do so as it prevents your heart rate to increase significantly and can reduce the quality of the scan.
It is fine for patients to do their daily routine unless their physicians tell them otherwise.
Once the technologist processes your study and the radiologist or cardiologist reads the study, a report will be sent to your ordering and consulting physician.