Positron Emission Tomography (PET) / CT


General Information:
Positron Emission Tomography, PET, is a non invasive test that looks at biochemical and physiological changes in tissues related to metabolism.  PET imaging is primarily used in detecting, staging and monitoring cancer. This type of imaging can be used to detect if a lung nodule is cancerous. In many cases, the results of a PET scan may prevent an unnecessary biopsy or surgery. PET scans can also be used to image various types of heart and brain disorders, such as early diagnosis in Alzheimer's and Parkinsons Disease.

A CT scan, Computed Tomography, shows the structure of the anatomy. A PET/CT scan combines both a PET and a CT exam during a single out-patient exam and fuses the two types of images together. This highly sophisticated PET/CT imaging technique gives detailed information to physcians about the presence or spread of disease and accurately identifies its precise location.


Preparation for an Upcoming Exam:

For all exams, please tell your doctor and InnerVision if you are pregnant or think you are pregnant.

  • Usual preparation involves fasting for six hours on the day of the exam although you are encouraged to drink as much water as possible to arrive well hydrated.
  • Avoid all beverages with caffeine, alcohol and sugar.
  • Do NOT chew gum or have hard candy the day of the exam as these can interfere with exam results.
  • Take any prescribed medications on the day of your test unless told otherwise.
  • No smoking on the day of your exam.
  • Drink at least 2 to 4 large glasses (12oz.) of water before the scan. You do not have to arrive with a full bladder.
  • Wear comfortable clothing without any metal on them (no zippers, snaps, etc.) and leave all jewelry at home.
  • Tell your doctor if you are diabetic.
  • Do not perform any strenuous activity or exercise the day of your exam. For example, do not run from your car to the PET center if you are late! Muscle activity can interfere with the results of your exam.


What to Expect on the Day of Your Exam:
Please arrive at your scheduled appointment time. While you will NOT have to go through a lengthy registration process, you will need to fill out a brief information sheet.

The exam will begin with the technologist injecting you with the PET imaging agent, called FDG, Fludeoxyglucose, (which is a sugar molecule combined with a radioisotope). Because the radioisotope used in the PET scan is short-lived, the amount of radiation exposure is about the same as from two chest x-rays. After the injection, you will be asked to sit in a comfortable chair in a quiet room for about one hour while the FDG distributes throughout your body. You will then be placed on the PET scan table and a series of pictures will be taken. Scanning usually takes 20-25 minutes, unless your physician ordered a whole body scan which will require approximately 45 minutes.

Before you leave, your images will be reviewed by one of our board certified radiologists who may ask the technologist to obtain additional pictures. This is not uncommon and should be no cause for alarm. After all of the images have been obtained a radiologist with special training in PET will give a timely report to your doctor.

You will be given an opportunity to fill out an evaluation of our services and make suggestions for improvement.

Please contact us at 765.447.7447. 

The Official Imaging Center for Purdue Athletics