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Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

What is a PET Scan?

A Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan is a test that shows how well your tissues and organs are functioning by measuring blood flow, sugar metabolism, or oxygen use. PET is also helpful in evaluating the effectiveness of certain cancer treatments.

What to Expect During a PET?

A PET scan is painless and low-risk procedure that lasts about two hours and is regularly performed on an outpatient basis. Before a PET scan, you will be given a radioactive drug called a tracer either orally or by injection. The tracer will take approximately 30 to 60 minutes to be absorbed by your body.

After your body has fully absorbed the tracer, you will lie on a table that will then slide into the scanner, which is shaped like large upright doughnut. During the test, you will be asked to lie very still. It is normal to hear whirring, buzzing, or clicking noises.

If you anticipate feeling claustrophobic during your PET, consult your physician about possible medications that you may take ahead of time to ease this discomfort.

Uses of PET Scans

PET scans are useful in diagnosing and detecting:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Brain tumors
  • Neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease

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