PET CT Scan and why it is done


The word PET in PET CT scan stands for positron emission tomography. This test mainly provides some information about the blood flow in a human body and how oxygen and sugar is used in them. When one goes for PET CT scan in Mumbai, the doctor first gives the patient some radioactive substance. It is commonly known as the radio tracer or only tracer. This tracer can give off radiation and the PET scan machine picks it up from there. As a result some images appear on those parts of the body where the tracer goes off. If that builds up in certain areas of the body then it can be a sign of some emerging disease.

Why one would need a PET scan?

Well, this test is mainly recommended by the doctors to see if there is any new disease that is emerging in a patient’s body or if one has to take any decisions on surgery. Sometimes, these tests are also done to see whether a certain kind of treatment is working on a human body or not. this test is mainly done to diagnose diseases on heart, brain and cancer conditions.

Here are the possible reasons a doctor can suggest a PET CT scan:

  • To find cancer.
  • To see if the cancer has spread and how much it has spread.
  • To check if the cancer treatment is working or not.
  • To determine if the cancer has again come back after the treatment is done.
  • To check blood flow in the heart muscles.
  • To look at the side effects of heart attacks.
  • Determining the best treatment procedure for clogged arteries.
  • To check if one has Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
  • To treat the seizures faced by the patients.
  • To determine location of tumours if there are any.

Why PET scans are different from MRI and Regular CTs?

These days’ doctors use different types of imaging tests for different reasons. Once they start with X rays because they take much less time and the doctors get some basic information. But if they need any finer details then the doctor suggests for some MRI and CT scans. In some cases the doctors also get some hybrid scanners that combine 2 tools into a single scan.

On the other hand, a PET scan can show what is actually happening to a body’s cells. This test is basically done when one finds nothing alarming in a CT scan or an MRI. PET CT shows if there is something wrong in the cell’s working process. So some diseases which the other imaging tests cannot discover, a PET CT does.

Get prepared for PET CT

Firstly the patient needs to aware their doctors if they have allergy tendency from the contrast dyes, sea food or iodine.  They also need to tell the doctors if they have any kind of illness like diabetes or some heart conditions. If they are taking any medicines or herbs they also need to make the doctor aware of that as well. If the patient is a woman then they need to do the following:

  • Tell the doctor if they are breastfeeding because they may need to pump milk because the mother cannot breastfeed the child till the tracer is entirely released from their body. So the doctor will check and then advise a particular time to wait before the patient can breastfeed again.
  • Always let know the doctor if one is pregnant because the tracer injected in the body can harm the foetus growing inside.

Apart from these any one should avoid any kind of intense activity for at least 24 hours before the scan. One should drink only water before a few hours of the scan and they should remove all the piercings and metal objects from the body.

When one enters the hospital or the lab for the test they first need to change all the clothes to a loose hospital gown and then get the tracer. Depending on the type of the test one either needs to swallow it as a liquid or as a breather or inject it in their body through a needle. Then one has to wait for at least half an hour to get the thing absorbed in the body.

Once it is done, the patient has to lie on their back when the images are captured. It is also very important to not move and stay still and not to talk during the time of scan which can last for 30 minutes till an hour.

The PET CT scan is a big machine which looks like an open circle and it has a table which moves in an out of it. When the test takes place there is a constant machine buzz that happens and it may hurt the ears of the patient. One can use an ear phone to avoid the sound.

It is a painless scan but it takes some time to finish and that is the boring part of it. Lying still for a long time can cause some discomfort and stiffness in the patient’s body.

Once the scan is over, the patient needs to drink a lot of fluid so that it can easily flush the tracer out from the body. The doctor can also suggest their patient’s to avoid all the close contact with kids, babies, and pregnant women for a few hours after the test is done. This is because the radioactive is present in the body for some time.

A PET scan shows bright areas where there is heavy activity in body cells, which may be a sign of disease. In order to get a more complete picture of what is going on inside the doctor may compare your PET scan with results from other imaging which have been previously done.  PET CT scan centre in Mumbai is reputed ones which follow all the procedures step by step when they take in a patient for the test.

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