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Your physician has referred you for a PET/CT examination — a diagnostic procedure designed to provide a wide scope of vital information for your physician to use.
What is PET/CT?
Positron emission tomography (PET) and computerized tomography (CT) are both state-of-the-art imaging tools. A PET scan looks at biologic activity, such as how your cells are utilizing nutrients like sugar and oxygen. A CT scan provides a detailed picture of the body’s internal anatomy, including location, size and shape, and can detect changes in the size or structure of internal organs or abnormal growths/injuries. The PET/CT exam combines the strengths of these two well established imaging technologies into a single scan, showing both the biologic activity and the anatomic structure. This provides more information and adds a valuable dimension to a physician’s capability to diagnose and manage disease. Because the PET detects changes in cellular function, and since these changes take place before physical changes occur, a PET/CT exam can provide information that allows your physician to make an earlier diagnosis. If disease or abnormalities have already been found by a previous imaging exam, such as a CT or MRI, the addition of PET can often characterize the cellular function early in the course of the disease. For you, these advanced capabilities can mean faster initiation of the best possible treatment while avoiding more invasive exams or exploratory surgery.
Why do I need this exam?
Your PET/CT exam results may have a major impact on your physician’s diagnosis of a potential health problem and how your care is managed. A PET/CT exam helps your physician to not only diagnose a problem, but also determine the best treatment approach and monitor your progress.
Because the PET and CT images are acquired nearly simultaneously, in the same gantry, the exam can take less time than having separate imaging procedures, and the results are more precise. If needed, the PET/CT provides accurate, anatomical landmarks to guide biopsy, surgery and even radiation treatment planning.