Positron emission tomography (PET) is a nuclear medicine imaging technique. This type of scan provides information about metabolic activity, how your body's organ systems function and how rapidly cells grow. At Greenwich Hospital, PET and CT (computed tomography) (LINK to CT in this section) technology is combined in the same scanning equipment for the greatest diagnostic accuracy.
Our PET/CT Technologists
Our PET/CT technologists are extensively trained to safely and properly manage radioactive imaging agents and to operate nuclear medicine imaging equipment. All are credentialed by the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board and the American Registry of Radiological Technologists.
Why do I need a PET scan?
PET can clearly identify certain diseases, particularly cancers, often before they are visible on other imaging tests such as CT scans or MRIs. PET scans are often used to see how well a known disease is responding to treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation. A PET scan can also be used to study brain and heart function.
Female patients who may be pregnant or are breastfeeding should discuss this with the physician prior to scheduling and with the technologist prior to a PET scan.
What should I expect?
Before the test, you will receive instructions either by phone or in person. Feel free to ask any questions you may have.
A skilled technologist administers the test and gathers images according to your doctor’s instructions. The technologist will give you a small intravenous (IV) injection of a radioactive “tracer” called FDG (fluorodeoxyglucose). You will then rest for about an hour as the tracer circulates throughout your body. When it’s time for the test, you will lie on a table that slides into a short, doughnut shaped scanning tube. During the scan, the tracer emits a signal, which can be detected by the PET camera.
Meanwhile, a computer converts the signals into three-dimensional images of your body. It is important to remain still as the images are being taken. You can resume normal activities after the test.
A PET scan usually takes about two hours from the time you receive the tracer until the scan is completed.