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PET/CT Imaging

Washington Hospital Healthcare System offers the latest in imaging technology, PET/CT, to help better diagnose and treat certain diseases and conditions.

Technology Overview

Positron emission tomography (PET) fused with computed tomography (CT) is a nuclear medicine procedure that produces pictures of the body's metabolic functions. Physicians use PET/CT images to diagnose and manage patient treatment plans for many diseases in the fields of oncology, cardiology and neurology. PET creates images of high metabolic activity in the body, rather than creating images of anatomy only. CT technology provides anatomic information about where the lesion is located. Together, a PET/CT scan allows our physicians to view metabolic activity and pinpoint where abnormal lesions are located so that they may target the disease. PET/CT's capability of early detection can save time and health care costs. PET/CT images help physicians select more effective therapies and improve patient care, while ultimately helping save lives.

To schedule a patient exam, please call 510.818.7380.

Patient Information

Exam Preparation

There is very little preparation needed for the PET/CT exam. Typically, you will be asked not to eat six to eight hours prior to the exam but you can drink water. If you're taking medication, please consult with your physician before the exam. Most medications can be taken the day of the exam.

Please avoid strenuous exercise 24 hours before your appointment.

If you are a diabetic, please let us know.

You may be asked to put on a gown for the exam so dress comfortably and expect to change your clothes.

Please do not wear jewelry.

The Exam

Prior to the exam, you will receive a small injection of radioactive sugar (FDG). You will be asked to sit on a comfortable chair for 30-60 minutes while the FDG travels throughout your body.

After this short time, the technologist will assist you to the scanner. The CT portion of the scan is completed first, followed by the PET portion. You may be asked to hold your breath for several seconds while the CT scan is performed. The technologist will tell you when this is necessary.

It is important that you don't move during the duration of the exam. The length of the exam is determined by your height and area of interest. Most PET/CT scans are typically completed within 20 to 40 minutes.

After the Exam

Once the total scan has been performed, you may resume normal daily activity. Even though the FDG will quickly leave your body, you can expedite the process by drinking plenty of water after your exam is complete.

You're PET/CT results will not be immediately available, but the reading physician will contact your referring physician to relay all of the pertinent information gathered from the scan. Your final report should be ready within 24 hours. Please call your referring physician for scan results.

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