Procedure of a PET CT scan - Jinz Haiggh Blog

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Procedure of a PET CT scan


The PET scan is a positron emission tomography test which shows some images and helps the doctor to detect the diseases in a human body. When this test happens it uses a kind of special dye that contains some radioactive tracers.

The tracers are either swallowed, or inhaled or are being injected in the vein of the human arm and that completely depends on which part of the body is going to be tested. There are certain tissues and organs present in the body that absorbs tracers. When detected by a PET scanner the tracer will help the doctor to find out whether the organs or the tissues are working well or not.

The PET CT Mumbai is also done in the same way where the tracer collect in the areas of the high chemical activity and it is very helpful because there are certain tissues detecting certain diseases. These areas become bright and will show up the spots on the PET CT scan.


This scan can measure the blood flow, the use of oxygen and how the sugar is used in a body.

The PET scan can measure blood flow, oxygen use, how your body uses sugar, and much more. The doctors mainly try to inspect the blood flow, th3 oxygen intake and the metabolism rate in the organs and tissues in the human body. This is mainly done on the cellular level and helps the doctor to diagnose the systemic diseases. On the other hand, the PET CT scan is mainly prescribed to find out heart issues, spread or detection of cancers, brain disorders and other nervous system problem issues.
In case of cancers when the doctor prescribes a PET CT scan it means they are trying to find out:
·         Whether the existing cancer cells have spread more.

·         Whether the treatment and the radiology therapy that is happening on the patient is working or not.
·         To check if there is any recurrence in cancer or not.

·         If there is any appearance of a tumour in the organs which can be cancerous in nature.

When there are heart issues then a doctor tries to find out the decreased blood flow in the heart by doing this scanning test. There will be different colours and some degrees of brightness on the image of the scan that will show different levels of the tissue functions. In order to find brain disorders, a PET CT scan is mainly done with the help of radioactive glucose and the scan can easily detect that what areas of the brain are utilising the glucose and which part of it is not utilising it much.
This scan is mainly recommended by the doctors to find out:

·         If there is any brain tumour.
·         Alzheimer ’s disease.
·         Symptoms of epilepsy
·         Traces of depression
·         Traces of sudden trauma

This particular scanning test is mainly an outpatient procedure. Before undergoing a PET CT scan, the patients cannot and should not eat any kind of food ingredients for at least 5 hours. also the patient has to avoid consuming anything that contains caffeine for at least a day before the scan is due. They can always drink plenty of plain water though.

The procedure of the test

Exactly before the test, the doctor will inject a very small amount of radio tracer inside the vein of the patient. If not injected, it can also be breathed in or can be inhaled by mouth by the patient as well. This radio tracer actually takes half an hour to 90 minutes to reach the targeted organ of the body that needs to be tested and the time taken completely depends on which part of the body is targeted. During this time the patient is always advised to stay still and not talk much. If needed some patients are also given oral medication to relax.

After this, when the patient is ready; they are taken to the special test room for the scanning. There is an examination table where they are asked to lie down and when that happens the table slides into a large hole inside the machine where the actual scanning will be done. As the machine starts taking the images the patients are advised to stay still because if they move, then the images will be blurred. 

This entire scanning procedure takes maximum 45 minutes and the time depends on which part of the body is being examined. This entire procedure is not painful at all. But whenever the patient feels a bit uneasy during the procedure they can let know the doctor by pressing the alert buzzer near them.
From injecting the tracer to the scanning, the entire procedure takes almost 2 hours to get over. So, when the test is done, the patients can easily go home. Once the test over, the patients are asked to consume plenty of water so that the radioactive drugs can easily and quickly go out of the body. this should not take more time than 4 hours.

What are the common risks of this test?

Here are some ideas:

·         There is a risk of radiation exposure.

·         A pregnant woman should not have a PET scan, as the radioactive material may affect the fetus or the infant
·         PET involves radioactive material; it is not suitable for everyone.

·         .If a woman is breastfeeding, then she should follow some directions for pumping and discarding breast milk, and ask the doctor when it is safe to restart breastfeeding after the test is over.

When a woman is pregnant or if they are breast feeding, then they need to tell their doctor immediately the moment they are advised for a PET CT scan.

PET CT scan centres in Mumbai always follows all the above mentioned steps when they are asked to perform the imaging test on the patient. One should always follow the doctor’s advice to avoid any kind of complications regarding the test and imaging procedure.
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