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THE TRUTH ABOUT IMAGING PET/CT:

WHY ARE PET AND CT USED TOGETHER?
PET/CT represent the next level of diagnostic imaging power for oncology. PET detects metabolic signals in the body while CT provides a detailed picture of the internal anatomy, revealing the location, size and shape of cellular activity.

Alone, each image test is effective for a wide variety applications, but when the results of PET and CT scans are "fused" together, the combined image provides complete information on cancer location and metabolism.

WHAT PATIENT BENEFITS ARE REALIZED BY USING PET/CT?

    Clinical advantages:
  • - Detailed diagnostic information not available from other imaging tests
  • - Earlier detection of disease with fewer invasive diagnostic procedures
  • - Improved staging of the disease and better monitoring of cancer recurrences
  • - More effective tracking of the results of treatment therapy
  • - Can contribute to lowering the overall cost of cure


HOW LONG DOES THE EXAM TAKE AND DOES IT HURT?
In most cases you will be on the scanner table for less than an hour. The scan itself causes no pain. The scan gantry is open and you will be able to see and speak with your exam technologist. An IV line could be started in your hand or arm in order to infuse a radiopharmaceutical.

WHAT IS BEING INJECTED FOR THE SCAN AND WHY?
For PET scans a very small amount of a radiopharmaceutical is infused into the bloodstream. The substance contains radioactive molecules that provide imaging information when absorbed or concentrated in tissue. Areas with rapid cell growth, such as malignant tumors, will show much higher concentrations of the dose than normal healthy tissue. A computer records the information and converts it into pictures for diagnostic purposes. For a PET/CT scan you may also receive a contrast agent by mouth or intravenous (IV) injection. The amount of radiation you will receive is about the same as any other radiology procedure. You should not feel any side effects from the material. Most of the radioactivity will be gone by the time you leave the facility.

HOW DO I PREPARE FOR THE EXAM?
You are not to eat for five hours prior to your appointment. You can drink water. Refrain from exercise 24 hours prior to your appointment.

You will be asked about your medications and if you are diabetic. Please ask the Technologist prior to your appointment if you should take your medications prior to the appointment.

Notify your technologist if you have allergies.

Notify your technologist if you are pregnant or breast feeding

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE SCAN?
It is important to drink as much water as possible for the rest of the day and empty your bladder as frequently as possible for rapid clearance of radioactivity from your body. You can perform normal activity immediately after the exam.

WHEN WILL I GET THE FINAL RESULTS?
Final results go to your referring physician within two to three working days.

WILL MY INSURANCE COVER THE EXAM?
Most insurance, including Medicare and Medi-Cal, cover PET/CT studies. Check with your physician or the Imaging facility.

PATIENT INFORMATION

What is PET/CT?
Positron Emission Tomography and Computed Tomography (PET/CT). Our unique Philips GEMINI PET/CT system has both PET and multi-slice CT components that can help us diagnose or track many different medical conditions. For oncology exams in particular, PET and CT image information may be used together to give your doctor a greater level of diagnostic confidence. WHAT IS PET: PET is a powerful diagnostic tool that in many cases renders answers that no other imaging test can provide. Used in conjunction with CT imaging or on its own, PET is a non-invasive procedure that helps physicians in their diagnosis and treatment of certain diseases. PET imaging can reveal metastic changes in your body that will be further examined by your physician. WHAT IS CT: CT combines x-rays with computer technology to create accurate detailed diagnostic images. CT testing is non-invasive painless and relatively fast.

PET/CT distinguishes benign from malignant tumors, exams multiple organ systems to detect primary tumor and extent of metastases, and malignant tissue from necrosis, edema, and scarring, with a high degree of accuracy.

PET/CT streamlines clinical care by facilitating clinical decisions and avoiding needless surgery or hospital stays with earlier staging, and monitoring of disease and drug therapy. On average patient management changes 30% of the time after a PET/CT study.

Medicare, Medi-Cal and most major insurances recognize the clinical value of PET/CT in certain applications for the following: Brain (seizures, Alzheimer's, and fronto-temporal dementia), Breast, Cervical, Colorectal, Esophageal, Head and Neck, Lymphoma, Melanoma, Myocardial Viability, Pulmonary/Lung, Thyroid (Follicular)

For most malignant disease, the following definitions apply: diagnosis of malignant disease qualifies for PET when the study results may assist in avoiding an invasive diagnostic procedure or assist in determining the optimal anatomic location to perform an invasive diagnostic procedure.

Staging of malignant disease qualifies for PET/CT when the study is used for the purposes of detecting residual disease, detecting suspected recurrence, or determining the extent of a known recurrence after the completion of treatment.

Restaging of malignant disease qualifies for PET/CT when the stage of cancer remains in doubt after completion of a standard diagnostic workup, including conventional imaging such as CT alone or MRI or ultrasound. PET/CT is a unique diagnostic modality that images localized metabolic information before anatomic changes occur.

With PET, tumors may be characterized, staged and restaged, and treatment may be monitored for impact, enhancing the clinical management of cancer and answering many questions faced in patient management.

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