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Home > Medical Services > Imaging & Radiology > PET Scan
Imaging procedures require a physician's order. Contact your provider via MyChart to discuss your options with your primary care provider.
Mercy Medical Center's Siemens Biograph Truepoint positron emission tomography (PET/CT) high-definition imaging system markedly enhances the hospital's ability to detect cancer and greatly aids in treatment decisions.
PET/CT produces pictures of metabolism (cell activity), which cannot be obtained with CT, MRI or conventional X-ray. While PET uses radioactive isotopes, its technology differs from that of nuclear imaging.
PET/CT can find abnormalities such as tumors that might go undetected by other imaging methods now available locally. This information helps the physician determine which treatment would be most appropriate.
PET/CT answers questions that CT scanning and MR imaging can't answer. To obtain PET/CT images, glucose containing a minute amount of radioactive isotopes is injected into the patient's arm. Glucose, a form of sugar found naturally in the body, accumulates in areas of rapid metabolism, such as tumors.
A PET/CT scan requires about 45 minutes, and is noiseless. The patient, fully clothed, lies comfortably on a table.
The PET/CT scanner, which resembles the large ring or "doughnut" of a CT scanner, records the radioactive decay, or breaking up, of the isotopes. This is done hundreds of thousands of times per second, from all angles.
The PET/CT computer reconstructs patterns of detected radioactivity into three-dimensional pictures of the body. Areas of rapid metabolic activity are highlighted, enabling physicians to pinpoint tumors and other abnormalities.
PET/CT scans are interpreted by radiologists with extra training in nuclear medicine.