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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. Imaging times vary depending on the exam.
  • The amount of radiation given is small, and is equivalent in most cases to naturally occurring radiation 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.

A radioisotope will be injected and a wait period of approximately 45 minutes occurs before you are asked to lie on a table. You will be asked to lie still. Imaging time takes 30 to 45 minutes.

This 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.

Special Instructions for Diabetic Patients preparing for a PET exam:

Instructions for Diabetic Patients preparing for a PET exam:

If you have any questions don’t worry about getting answers. A technologist will contact you the day before your scan. PET is an excellent diagnostic exam and greatly enhances the ability to decide what care is best for you. Our goal is to prepare you for a comfortable procedure and produce the finest images for your doctor’s review.

  • Your exam will usually be scheduled before 9:00am.
  • Do not eat anything for 6 hours prior to the exam, no gum, candy, breath mints or cough drops.
  • Your blood sugar needs to be below 160.
  • If you begin to feel sick and attribute this to a drop in blood sugar, eat a few saltine crackers and elevate your legs.
  • Take medications as normal.
  • You may drink plenty of water or unsweetened tea.
  • Limit physical activity.
  • The night before your PET examiniation eat a low-carb dinner, no breads, rice, potatoes or pasta.
  • Wear socks and warm clothes, it sometimes can be chilly on the scanner.
  • Test takes two hours from start to finish.