Whenever anyone goes for a PET CT scan, the very first question that the technologist asks is, “When did you eat or drink anything last time?” Then I wonder why the technologist is asking me and why the information about what and when I ate or drank is so important.
Intending to answer your queries regarding the PET CT scan, I thought to write this article.
In this article, we will discuss the following topics:
- Concerning the PET/CT scan
- Why do you need a PET/CT scan?
- Why do you need to fast before the PET/CT scan?
- How is the PET/CT scan carried out?
- How much time does a PET CT scan take?
- What is the cost of a PET/CT scan?
- Final Conclusion
Concerning the PET/CT scan
A PET CT scan isa positron emission tomography scan that combines computed tomography (CT) to diagnose a variety of problems related to the brain, heart, central nervous system, and cancer. The main function of the PET scan is that it provides information on the functioning of the organs and tissues, whereas a CT scan provides structural information on the body’s organs and tissues to obtain high-resolution imaging.
This combined methodology involves the use of a special contrast dye containing radioactive tracers to highlight the abnormal cells and obtain pictures of the particular area containing the abnormal tissues. It helps evaluate the disease accurately and decide the effective treatment accordingly because PET scans detect problems at the cellular level and CT scans detect problems at the structural level. It gives your doctor a detailed view of complex systemic diseases.
Why do you need a PET/CT scan?
A PET CT scan is most commonly used to detect various kinds of complex systemic problems, such as cancer, heart issues, and brain-related issues.
- Detect different types of cancer, such as prostate cancer, breast cancer, brain cancer, ovarian cancer, liver cancer, etc.
- Whether or not the treatment is effective
- to detect coronary artery disease, heart failure, etc.
- Detect Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, head trauma, etc.
Why do you Need to Fast Before the PET/CT scan?
PET CT scanning uses the radioisotope fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose, which is a transporter of glucose. 18F-FDG is transported to metabolically active areas. Whenever an individual consumes anything, then the level of glucose changes. The elevated level of glucose increases the level of insulin. For our daily activities, our muscles suck up glucose. But when anyone consumes anything before the procedure, then there is the chance of an increased glucose level, and instead of going to the area of interest, the radioisotope is taken up by the muscles. In this way, it can affect the result.
So, for ideal imaging, it is always requested that you fast for 4-6 hours before the scan. An inappropriate diet can easily affect the body’s glucose level. But in some cases, even after fasting for 4-6 hours, the level of glucose in the body remains too high or too low. In those cases, to obtain the optimal images, either medication to maintain the glucose level is given before the PET CT scan or the test is rescheduled for another day.
Apart from the things mentioned above, to get an accurate result, a doctor may recommend you follow a special diet for a minimum of 18 to 20 hours before the test.
- Consume a diet with high protein and low carbohydrates such as eggs, broccoli, spinach, green beans, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, mushrooms, etc.
- To stay hydrated, drink the required amount of water.
- You must avoid foods that could increase the glucose level, such as cereals, pasta, fruit, dry beans, juices, candy, tea, coffee, rice, jams, syrups, etc.
How is the PET/CT scan carried out?
- Before the scan, the technologist will give you a radioisotope through an IV line in your arm or hand.
- Because your body takes time to absorb the radioactive tracers, the technologist will ask you to wait about an hour.
- Once your body has absorbed the tracer fully, the technologist will take you for the scanning procedure.
- Next, to undergo a scan, you need to lie on a flat table attached to a PET/CT machine.
- Once the table slides into the scanner, the scanning begins.
- During the scanning procedure, you need to remain still, and the camera inside the machine will capture the picture.
- Once the required picture is recorded, the technician will slide you out of the scanner.
How Much Time Does a PET CT scan take?
The procedure of a PET/CT scan involves the administration of radioisotopes and scanning. The absorption of radioactive tracer in the body takes around 1 hour, and the scanning procedure takes 15 to 30 minutes. In this way, the complete process of a PET CT scan takes around 60 to 90 minutes.
What is the cost of a PET/CT scan?
Giving exact information about the cost of a PET CT scan is quite difficult because the price is not the same in every diagnostic centre and even in every city. But if we talk about the average, then the PET scan price is mostly between Rs. 22,000 and Rs. 30,000. To know more about the exact cost of a PET CT scan for your health issue, you can check with any diagnostic centre near you.
A PET-CT (positron emission tomography—computed tomography) scan is an advanced imaging procedure that combines two imaging techniques. This scan uses a radioisotope to check for the presence of disease in the body. The radioactive tracer absorbs into the organs and tissues and helps the doctor determine how well the organs and tissues are working. Various factors can affect the result of the PET CT scan, such as diet and fluid. Because the radioisotope used for the PET CT scan is a carrier of glucose, and an increased level of glucose can affect the result, you must fast for at least 4 to 6 hours before the procedure. Apart from this, your doctor may guide you on a special diet that you need to follow for 20 to 24 hours before the examination. An accurate diagnosis leads to accurate treatment. So, it is always advisable to follow the instructions of the doctor, be they related to diet, medication, or a health condition. Please contact us if you want to learn more about the PET CT scan that is specific to your problem.