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What is PET?  
Benefits of PET 
Diseases Identified by PET 
Patient Procedure Information

What Is Positron Emission Tomography (PET)? 

PET is an advanced diagnostic imaging technology that brings multiple benefits to hospitals, physicians and patients through better control of patient disease management and early disease detection. PET is a nuclear medicine procedure that produces pictures of the body's biological functions. This is important because functional change, such as tissue metabolism and physiologic functions, often predates structural change.

Since precursors to disease are biochemical in nature and initially affect function, PET can save time and costs in diagnosis and treatment of many significant disease conditions in the fields of oncology, cardiology and neurology. Utilizing PET improves patient care since it helps physicians select more effective therapies, which ultimately helps save lives.

Developed in the early 1970s, PET is rapidly emerging from the halls of research and academic centers into everyday clinical practice. This leap into mainstream healthcare in the United States has been spurred by three components: expanded Medicare coverage (most recently for breast cancer, effective October 1, 2002), increased availability of PET radiopharmaceuticals from regional suppliers, and improved access to shared PET equipment options.

For more information on Princeton Baptist's PET procedure call 1-877-222-7847 or Email Us.

Benefits of PET Exams

CT Scan
Only allows for lesion localization

PET Scan
Tracks metabolic changes and allows for
actual cancer identification

Monitors therapeutic efficiency
PET manages patient therapy by monitoring response to a given regimen and providing early feedback on its efficacy. This can help avoid ineffective treatments or unnecessary hospitalization.

Identifies distant metastases                           
Through showing all the organs of the body with one image, PET can identify distant, occult metastases that may affect the course of treatment and therefore change patient management.

Eliminates invasive procedures                      
PET helps avoid the expense and pain of removing benign nodules, as well as invasive biopsy procedures to determine malignancy.

Pre-surgical assessment                            
PET allows for more accurate staging of patients for surgery.  Thus eliminating those procedures that will not benefit the patient and ultimately avoiding useless surgical resections.

Earlier diagnosis                                      
PET is able to diagnose disease before structural changes become detectable with anatomical imaging techniques, potentially improving the prognosis.

For more information on Princeton Baptist's PET procedure call 1-877-222-7847 or Email Us.

Copy and images courtesy of Alliance Imaging

Diseases Most Commonly Identified by PET

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is typically used in the following three medical specialty areas:

In oncology, PET is the only modality that can accurately image many organs of the body with a single pass to allow determination of malignancy. It can also provide information to determination of whether a primary cancer has metastasized to other parts of the body. PET has demonstrated its usefulness in: cost effective, whole-body metastatic surveys; avoiding biopsies for low grade tumors; non-invasive differentiation of tumors from radiation necrosis; early change in course of ineffective chemotherapy; and avoiding unnecessary diagnostic and therapeutic surgeries. PET is effective in the diagnosing and staging of the following cancers: brain tumor, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, head and neck cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma, melanoma, musculoskeletal tumors, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, and thyroid cancer.

In cardiology, PET enables physicians to screen for coronary artery disease, to assess flow rates and flow reserve, and to distinguish viable from nonviable myocardium for bypass and transplant candidates.

In neurology, PET provides information for assessing various neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and other dementias, Parkinson's, and Huntington's. Additionally, it localizes epileptic foci for qualifying and identifying the site for surgical intervention. It allows the characterization, grading, and assessment of possible brain tumor recurrence. In neurological cases, PET is also used for evaluation of stroke and epilepsy.

For more information on Princeton Baptist's PET procedure call 1-877-222-7847 or Email Us.

Copy and images courtesy of Alliance Imaging

PET Procedure Patient Information

What is a Positron Emission Tomography exam?

Positron emission tomography (PET) is a nuclear medicine procedure that produces pictures of the body's biological functions. PET is a unique diagnostic imaging modality that is capable of detecting certain diseases before other imaging modalities such as: computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).   PET is able to capture chemical and physiological changes related to metabolism, as opposed to gross anatomy and structure, which is obtained by CT and MRI. This is important since function changes are often present before structural changes in tissues. PET images may therefore demonstrate pathological changes long before they would be evident in CT or MRI.

How do I prepare for a PET scan?
Your physician will advise on eating or drinking prior to your exam, but typically, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything four to six hours before the exam. During the exam itself, you should wear comfortable clothes and take any prescribed medications on the day of the exam unless instructed not to do so by your physician.

What can I expect during the PET scan?
Before the scan, you will be injected with a radioactive tracer. The tracer is a compound such as sugar, labeled with a short-lived radioisotope. Once injected, you will be asked to rest for approximately thirty to forty-five minutes while the radioactive compound distributes throughout your body, and is processed by the organs being evaluated. The radiation exposure associated with PET is safe and much lower than that associated with conventional CT scanning. The technologist will ask you to lie on the scanner table, which will then slowly pass through the PET scanner. The PET scanner detects and records the signals the tracers emit. The signals are then reassembled into actual images through a computer.

How long will my PET scan take?
Every PET exam is different, but most patients can expect to be at the hospital or imaging center for at least two hours. This includes the time needed for the injected tracer to distribute throughout your body, as well as the time you actually spend moving through the PET scanner. The exact length of your exam will be determined by the type of study being performed.

What will happen following my PET scan?
You should feel fine following your PET scan. There are no known side effects from the injected tracer.

How do I find out the results of my PET scan?
Your PET scan will be reviewed by a radiologist or nuclear medicine physician.  The radiologist or nuclear medicine physician will send a report to your physicians, who will give you the results of the scan.

For more information on Princeton Baptist's PET procedure call 1-877-222-7847 or Email Us.

Copy courtesy of Alliance Imaging

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