Positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT or PET/CT) is a nuclear medicine imaging technique. In PET- CT, functional imaging obtained by PET giving the spatial distribution of metabolic activity in the body and anatomic imaging obtained by CT scan are precisely aligned and helps physicians account for variations in tumor size, shape, and location when patients move or breathe. With it, doctors see the most complete and accurate images possible of a patient’s tumor and surrounding body structures
The use of positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT), is expanding rapidly and plays a pivotal role in Cancer Treatment. It helps in detecting cancer in its early onset, determine the spread of cancer in the body and assess the effectiveness of Treatment plan such as Cancer therapy.
During PET CT a radioactive material called a radiotracer is injected into the bloodstream or inhaled as a gas. This radioactive material gets accumulated in the part of the body under examination and radiates energy in form of Gamma Rays. These rays are detected by special cameras, and with help of computer pictures are created offering insights on the structure and function of organs and tissues in the body.
Inside the body, areas where large amounts of radio tracer accumulates are called as “hot spots” indicating high level of chemical or metabolic activity and less intensity areas or areas with smaller concentration of radio tracer called “cold spots” indicates less chemical activity
In PET- CT, initially the patient is positioned on an examination table and if necessary an intravenous (IV) catheter is inserted into a vein in the hand or arm. Radiotracer is then injected, swallowed or inhaled as a gas. Typically, it takes around 60 minutes for the radio tracer to be absorbed by tissue or organ under study. The patient is then moved into the PET/CT scanner and the imaging begins. CT scan is performed first, followed by the PET scan, with total procedure taking approximately 30 minutes
Risks involved in PET-CT
For PET- CT scan, a radioactive drug (tracer) in small amounts will be incorporated in the body. As the amount of radiation you’re exposed to is small, the risk of negative effects as well are less. But the tracer might:
- In rare instances, cause an allergic reaction
- Expose unborn baby to radiation if you are pregnant
- Expose the child to radiation if you are breast-feeding
American Oncology Institute has the best Radiologists, who bring in rich experience handling all the nuclear imaging processes with utmost care ensuring the optimal performance of radiological procedures and precise interpretation of medical images. At AOI, we handle every aspect of the care process digitally to create the safest, most convenient and transparent experience for our patients.