PET / CT Imaging
Park Avenue Radiologists has installed the latest generation multidetector PET / CT System with the highest resolution of PET configuration, to allow for imaging virtually all organ systems, including cardiac PET / CT. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computerized Tomography (CT) are both standard imaging tools that allow physicians to pinpoint the location of cancer within the body before making treatment recommendations.
The highly sensitive PET scan detects the metabolic signal of actively growing cancer cells in the body and the CT scan provides a detailed picture of the internal anatomy that reveals the location, size, and shape of abnormal cancerous growths. PET / CT imaging allows our radiologists to see rapid changes in your body’s metabolism through a PET scan and a CAT scan. These changes are often promoted by anomalous cells or tissues. In the past, difficulties arose from trying to interpret the results of a CT scan done at a different time and location than a PET scan because the patient's body position had changed. The combination of PET / CT scans provide our radiologists with a more complete picture of what is occurring in the body simultaneously on an anatomical and metabolic level.
What is PET / CT imaging?
Essentially, small lesions or tumors are detected with a PET scan and then precisely located with a CT scan. At Park Avenue Radiologists, we offer the latest generation of PET / CT imaging with the highest resolution of PET configuration to allow for the imaging of virtually all organ systems, including cardiac PET / CT. PET/ CT imaging are both standard medical imaging tools that allow physicians to determine the exact location of a cancerous growth within the body before making treatment recommendations.
- Benefits of PET / CT imaging include
- Earlier detection and diagnosis
- Accurate staging and localization of a tumor
- Precise treatment and monitoring
While a CT scan provides anatomical details such as the size and placement of a tumor or mass, a PET scan provides metabolic details, such as the cellular activity of the tumor or mass. Combining these two radiologic technologies makes a PET / CT superior to either technology alone.
Anatomical: CT scanners send X-rays through the body, which are then measured by detectors in the CT scanner. A computer then processes these measurements to produce pictures of the body's internal structures.
Metabolic: PET scans begin with an injection of glucose (sugar) that has been marked with radioactive material. Metabolically active organs or tumors consume sugar at high rates, and as the marked sugar starts to decay, it emits positrons. These positrons then collide with electrons, producing gamma rays. A specialized computer then converts these gamma rays into images. These pictures can help specify areas of high metabolic activity. Areas of high metabolic activity often indicate rapidly growing tumors because cancerous cells generally consume more sugar and energy than organs or tumors.
What can PET / CT imaging help diagnose?
Alone, each imaging test has particular benefits and limitations but when the results of PET and CT scans are "fused" together, the combined image provides complete information on cancer location and metabolism.
With the high-tech images that a PET / CT scanner provides, patients can avoid unnecessary procedures. Additionally, the prompt diagnosis of cancer leads to a more successful cancer treatment. A PET / CT scan also provides early detection of the recurrence of cancer, revealing tumors that might otherwise be obscured by scar tissue that is a result from surgery or radiation therapy, particularly in the head and neck.
What can I expect from PET / CT imaging?
You may be asked to change into a gown prior to your PET scan and CAT scan. In some cases of PET / CT imaging, an IV may need to be placed. The radioactive material, also referred to as radiotracers, may be administered intravenously or orally. There may be a period of time where you will have to wait for the radiotracers to travel to the organ that is being evaluated. In many cases, a radiotracer will be able to effectively travel to a specific organ in just one hour. Some PET / CT imaging scans also require the use of a contrast dye, which will help our radiologists better visualize the images gathered during your scan. You will lie down on the procedure table and enter the PET / CT machine. At the end of your PET /CT scan, your IV will be removed, and you will be allowed to return to your normal activity. The radiotracers will naturally be processed and passed by your body.
How long does PET / CT imaging take, and when will I get my results?
The entire examination usually takes less than thirty minutes. PET / CT imaging provides exceptional image quality and accurate diagnostic information. While the CT scan, in most cases, only takes a few minutes to complete, a PET scan takes approximately twenty-five minutes. The total length of your PET / CT scan will vary depending on what you are having evaluated. For more complex cases or scans, your PET /CT scan may last up to an hour or longer. Our radiologists will begin to review your PET / CT results as promptly as possible. We will send a detailed report of your PET / CT scan results to your physician, who will then contact you to discuss your results. In some cases, additional medical imaging may be required to further diagnose or assess a tumor or cancer.
How can I learn more about PET / CT imaging?
Our radiologists at Park Avenue Radiologists would be happy to discuss PET / CT imaging with you. For an appointment or additional information, please call 212.888.1000, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or request an appointment online.