Radiology Associates of West Pasco
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Nuclear Medicine/PET
Nuclear Medicine tests are done to evaluate the function of specific organs and to localize the distribution of a radioactive tracer in the body. PET Examinations are for detection of cancer, Alzheimer's disease and cardiac viability.

This examination is done to evaluate the function and distribution of small amounts of specially prepared tracers that go through your body to specific areas for analysis. As the gamma rays leave the body a detector converts them to a signal which is sent to a TV monitor. Different chemicals are attached to the radioactive material so that the tracer can be directed to different areas of the body.

Preparation for a Nuclear Medicine Exam

Depending on the type of exam ordered, you may be required to have nothing to eat prior to the test.
  • For all Scans it is important to drink plenty of fluids up to the day of the exam.
  • Please arrive early on the day of the exam, to complete the registration process.
  • Isotopes are given by injection, orally, or by inhalation. If your exam requires you to come back at a later time, you will be instructed to do so. If your exam requires scans to begin immediately, you will be placed on a table or asked to sit in front of a scanner.
  • Acquiring the Nuclear Medicine images takes time, and it is very important that you remain still while images are being obtained. This can take from 5 minutes up to an hour.
  • The amount of radiation given is small, and is equivalent in most cases to naturally occurring levels and are passed out of the body very quickly. You are advised to drink plenty of water after the exam.
  • Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding may not be candidates for these exams.

Positron Emissions Tomography (PET Scan)

PET Examinations are for detection of cancer, Alzheimer's disease and cardiac viability.

Pet technology allows Radiology Associates to offer imaging capabilities to help physicians diagnose different types of cancer and to determine the most beneficial therapy. PET has also been shown to help diagnose cardiac diseases and various brain disorders. Unlike other diagnostic imaging modalities, PET visualizes metabolic activity and can reveal disease states before structural damage is evident. Currently, the most common applications of PET in cancer patients are diagnosing disease when other tests are inconclusive, staging the extent of the disease, detecting recurrent disease early, and monitoring the response to therapy.

This state-of-the-art, full-ring, dedicated PET system from Philips Medical Systems gives Radiology Associates the ability to conduct faster scans in order to maximize patient comfort. The system's advanced imaging capability produces high-resolution images, allowing us to deliver superior diagnostic information.

For most studies, you’ll have to wait for the radiopharmaceutical to distribute itself – typically 30 minutes to an hour. You’ll be asked to lie very still. The scan can last anywhere from 15-60 minutes. You’ll be able to eat and drink immediately following the exam – drinking lots of fluids will help remove any of the radiopharmaceutical that may still be in your system.