The PET-Scan is a non-invasive imaging technique using a radioactive tracer to reveal how tissues and organs are functioning. The injected tracer accumulates in regions of the body where metabolic and chemical activity is highest, revealing these regions as bright spots. Cancer cells often have higher activity, and the exam may detect the disease before it is visible on other imaging tests.
It is used to detect cancer or recurrence, to search for disease that may have spread to distant locations (metastases), or to evaluate response to treatment.
Often, the PET scan is combined with a CT scan for better spatial localization.
Detailed instructions for preparation for the scan will be given in advance; The patient should avoid intense exercise in the days before the exam. The exam requires fasting for several hours. A radioactive agent injection will be administered to the patient 30 to 60 minutes before the exam; The patient lies on a table for the entire duration of the exam, approximately 30 minutes. This table slides into a ring-shaped machine; No pain or abnormal sensations are felt during the exam. The complete evaluation is approximately 2 hours.
The exam involves exposure to ionizing radiation with a low risk of side effects. Fetuses and breastfed newborns are also exposed to ionizing radiation. Some people who have a fear of enclosed spaces may experience anxiety. If necessary, a mild sedative can be prescribed from a pharmacy before the exam. A slight risk of an allergic reaction to the product used.