Home Health What is a PET scan, exactly?

What is a PET scan, exactly?

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PET scan

A PET (positron emission tomography) scan creates images of your inside organs and tissues at work. The PET scanner and a radiotracer, a harmless injectable radioactive substance, are used. The scanner finds sick cells that absorb a lot of the radiotracer, indicating a possible health issue. 

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How does it work?

Cancerous cells in organs and tissues are detected using PET scanning. You will receive an IV infusion of a low-dose radioactive medicine. This molecule is known as a radiotracer. 

Diseased cells absorb more radiotracer than healthy cells in your body. The PET scanner detects this radiation and generates images of the affected tissue. 

X-ray images from a CT scan are combined with images from a PET scan in a PET CT scan.

Healthcare providers use PET scans for a variety of reasons

Your healthcare provider may order a PET CT scan or a PET scan to look for indicators of:

  • cancer, such as lung cancer, thyroid cancer, or breast cancer. 
  • Coronary artery disease, heart attack, or other cardiac disorders 
  • Brain tumors, epilepsy, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease 

What may a PET scan reveal? 

A PET scan or a PET CT scan assesses essential activities such as:

  • Blood flow, oxygen consumption, and glucose metabolism. 
  • Identify organs and tissues that aren’t functioning correctly. 
  • Find out whether you have cancer or make a diagnosis.
  • To assist in determining the spread of cancer, detect malignant tumour cells (metastasis). 
  • Identify whether cancer has reappeared after treatment and what the prognosis is.
  • Examine the tissue’s metabolism and viability. 
  • Determine how a heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, affects various heart regions. 
  • Assess whether angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery might assist certain areas of the heart muscle (in combination with a myocardial perfusion scan). 
  • Examine brain abnormalities such as tumours, memory problems, seizures, and other CNS diseases. 
  • Investigate the natural functioning of the human brain and heart.

What should I do to be ready for a PET scan? 

PET scans are performed as an outpatient treatment so that you can return home the same day. Your health professional will give you specific instructions on being ready for the scan. Generally speaking, you should: 

  • Make sure your health professional is up to date on all of your prescriptions and supplements. 
  • If you suspect you could be pregnant, tell your doctor. 
  • Don’t eat anything six hours before the test. If you have diabetes, your healthcare practitioner may advise you to adjust your course. 
  • Only drink water. 
  • If you’re being tested for a cardiac condition, avoid caffeine for 24 hours before the test. 
  • Make sure you’re dressed comfortably. 

The advantages of a combined PET CT scan include:

A PET scan is a painless method that aids in the early detection of disease compared to CT or MRI imaging. A PET CT scan that combines the two technologies allows for a more thorough examination of organs and tissue. PET scans can help your healthcare practitioner make an accurate diagnosis and design a treatment plan that works for you.

The following are the advantages of a combined PET CT scan:

  • More detail and precision; there is less space for error because both scans are performed simultaneously without the patient needing to change positions. 
  • It is more convenient for patients to have CT and PET done simultaneously rather than at two different times.

What are the limits of PET CT Scan (Computed Tomography Tomography)? 

  • Procedures involving nuclear medicine can take a long time. The radiotracer might accumulate in the area of interest for several hours to days. Furthermore, imaging can take many hours to complete. In some circumstances, updated equipment might cut the procedure time in half. 
  • Nuclear medicine images may not have the exact image resolution as CT or MRI images. On the other hand, nuclear medicine scans are more sensitive. Other imaging techniques are generally unable to gather the available information they provide. 
  • Diabetic patients and patients who have eaten a few hours before the exam may have their test results impacted by changes in blood sugar or blood insulin levels. 
  • The radiotracer degrades quickly and is only helpful for a limited period. As a result, the patient must arrive on time for the appointment and receive the radioactive material on time. 
  • A particularly obese person may not be able to fit through the entrance of a traditional PET/CT scanner.

PET CT Scan cost Singapore

The PET CT Scan cost in Singapore varies depending on whether you visit a private hospital or a public hospital. PET CT Scan costs in Singapore are mentioned below:

Type of Scan/ Test Public Hospital Private Hospital
PET  CT Scan Approx. $2,000 – $3,000 Approx. $2,400 -$6,000

 

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