The PET scan produces an image of the body's soft structures including metabolic and/or chemical information. The CT scan produces an image of body structures including bone and tissue. The fused picture combines the two images to show both hard structures such as bone and soft structure such as growing tissue or tumors.
The system's images can be compared to radar pictures seen on weather reports. It can show a concentration of cancer cells in a color "cluster" just as the radar shows concentration of precipitation. This "fusion" technology has been described as the most significant cancer breakthrough in 20 years. St. Rita's is the only medical facility in the region with this sophisticated, life-saving technology.
The PET/CT helps physicians find out if a patient has cancer, if it is benign or malignant, the size of the cancer, exactly where it is located and what the best therapy would be. The technology can also pinpoint the precise area to be treated, show if the therapy is working, if there is a recurrence or if the person remains cancer-free. The images can also show whether heart tissue is good (undamaged) before open-heart surgery or angioplasty is performed, so it is an excellent addition to heart diagnostics.
Benefits of PET/Ct Fusion Include
- PET/CT Fusion can help physicians detect alterations in biochemical processes that suggest disease before changes in anatomy are apparent and can measure the effectiveness of current treatment.
- Risks of PET/CT Fusion include:
- The radioactive substance may expose the fetus of pregnant patients or the infants of breast-feeding women to the radiation. The risk to the fetus or infant should be considered related to the information gain from the potential result of the PET/CT Fusion examination.
What You Need To Know
- Your physician will give you instructions on how to prepare for your specific exam. Typically, no food or drink is allowed after dinner the night before your exam or at least 4 hours before your exam. It is important to follow these instructions to ensure the most accurate diagnostic results.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant, or if you are a nursing mother.
- Wear comfortable clothing.
- Tell your doctor if you are diabetic.
- Take any prescribed medications on the day of your test unless instructed not to do so.
- Do not take any diabetic medications the day of your PET Scan
Before the scan, a small amount of radioactive glucose (called a tracer) is injected into your bloodstream. Then you are asked to wait 60 minutes while the injected material is distributed throughout your body. After this time has elapsed, you will be asked to lie on a table that passes slowly through the scanner. The scanner resembles a CT scanner, but has a much larger opening. Some people fall asleep during the scan. Having a PET/CT Fusion scan is safe. It is usually an outpatient procedure. After the test, you should feel fine and be able to leave immediately. There are no side effects from the injected trace.