Our Discovery ST PET/CT scanner fuses the technology from the highest resolution Light Speed 16 slice CT and the superior imaging capability of a dedicated PET/CT scanner. The combination of these two state-of-the-art scanners greatly improves the ability detect and localize malignant tumors.
This exciting integrated technology enables us to perform both the PET scan and CT scan in one sitting, without the patient changing position. The PET and CT images are fused together allowing the radiologist to see malignant activity at a metabolic level and pinpoint its exact location. The PET/CT will enable the physician to determine if an abnormality seen on a CT or other traditional imaging scan is malignant or benign. Additionally, it will assist the physician in determining if there are distant metastases in patients who already have a known malignancy.
PET/CT scans can also be used to measure the brain’s metabolism. Studies have shown that it is possible to spot Alzheimer’s through metabolism patterns on PET/CT scans and may detect Alzheimer’s even before significant symptoms emerge. This study can be used in combination with other tests to distinguish memory loss, behavioral changes and other early symptoms from those of other conditions. Detecting Alzheimer’s early is important because new treatment options have recently emerged which have been found to slow the progression of disease in some patients.
Medicare has recently approved payment for many PET/CT scan indications. Most private and managed care insurance companies pay for all or part of the procedure. Insurance coverage differs depending on the type of study and the reason the test is performed. We recommend that the patient contact their insurance carrier for details on their specific coverage. Precertification is quite often necessary.
What is a PET/CT?
PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography and CT stands for Computed Tomography, PET/CT is the combination of these two imaging techniques in one exam, a PET scan and a CT scan. Both of these are standard imaging tools that physicians use to locate diseases in the body. The PET scan provides unique information about the biological function of the body before anatomical changes take place, while the CT scan provides information about the body’s anatomy, such as size, shape and location. The PET/CT scan helps physicians better understand the extent and the exact location of disease. By combining these two technologies, physicians can more accurately diagnose and identify cancer, heart disease and brain disorders. PET/CT allows physicians to develop the best treatment plan for that specific patient. When CT or MRI is negative or inconclusive PET/CT can reveal disease.
How long is the procedure?
It depends on the type of PET/CT scan your doctor ordered. In general, please allow 1-3 hours for the entire visit. This includes time to prepare you for the scan time in the scanner.
Will someone need to drive me?
If your doctor gives you medication to reduce anxiety during the exam, you will not be able to drive yourself home. The PET/CT will not affect your ability to drive.
What about family or friends accompanying me?
People who are not patients are unable to wait in the injection rooms or scan room. Family/friends are welcome to remain in the reception area or come back when the patient’s PET/CT scan is completed. Please do not have small children or pregnant women accompany you to your exam. Please make arrangements for childcare if necessary and avoid close contact with small children and pregnant women for at least 4 hours following the end of your PET examination.
For more information go to Radiologyinfo.org