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Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography (PET/CT) 

Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography (PET/CT) is a revolutionary imaging procedure that combines the best of PET and CT imaging to create exceptionally detailed images.  It is especially useful for diagnosing and treatment planning for brain disorders, heart conditions, and cancer.  Not only can the PET/CT identify the location of a mass, but it can also help determine if the cells are cancerous or not.  PET/CT is a short and painless procedure.
 
Preparation
 
Preparation instructions may vary, depending on your procedure.  You will receive specific instructions when you make your appointment.  Instructions usually include not eating for about six hours prior to your scan.  You should avoid excessive exercise the day before.
 
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or nursing, have diabetes, or are allergic to injected contrast dye (radioactive tracer).  Let your doctor know all of the medications that you take.  Your blood sugar will be tested before you receive the radioactive tracer.
 
You will wear a gown for the procedure.  You will need to remove metal objects, such as jewelry, watches, and removable dentures before the test.  You will be injected with the radioactive tracer about 45 minutes before your scan. 
 
Procedure
 
You will lie on a narrow table and your body will be positioned by the technician.  The table will glide into the PET/CT scanner.  The CT scan is taken first.  You will be instructed to remain motionless while the images are taken.  The PET scan is taken next.  The scanning process may take up to an hour, depending on the particular procedure.
 
A radiology technician may perform your test, but is not qualified to diagnose or discuss your condition or results with you.  A radiologist or your doctor will review your results with you.
 

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.