PET Scan in Saddle River, NJ
The PET in PET Scan stands for positron emission tomography and it is a test in which a radioactive "tracer" is injected into the body to help doctors identify where cancer is present.
The tracer is a combination of sugar and a low dose of radioactive substance. This material collects in the tissues and organs. Because cancer cells tend to be more active than healthy cells, they absorb more of the solution making them appear brighter in the scan.
A PET scan is performed when a mammogram or CT scan has already detected cancer, and doctors are looking to:
- Determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body and identify where those areas are.
- Monitor cancer during treatment to see if it is responding to the therapy being used.
- Scan the body after treatment to ensure that the cancer has been completely eliminated.
The PET Scan Procedure
At the beginning of your visit, a medical professional will insert an IV into your arm, usually near the elbow. The IV injects a radioactive substance into the body that highlights areas of cancer so they can be easily found. It takes about an hour for the substance to be completely absorbed by the organs and tissues.
Patients then lie on a table which is slid into a tunnel-shaped scanner. The scanning process is completely painless as it seeks out the tracer solution to generate three-dimensional images of your body.
If you are feeling uncomfortable due to nervousness or from lying still for too long, the technician can sometimes be communicated with during the procedure via a speaker built into the scanning device.
Before Your PET Scan Procedure
PET scans are safe and painless, but there are a few things that need to be discussed before your visit. Let your doctor know if:
- You are uncomfortable with confined spaces, as the scan takes place in a tunnel-like device. Your doctor may administer a sedative for you before the procedure.
- You are pregnant. It is not recommended to perform a PET scan on expectant mothers.
- You have any known allergies to injected dyes.
- You have diabetes and have taken insulin, because extra preparation is needed before the test takes place. Blood sugar or insulin level imbalances may produce false results.
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