IMAGING: PET/CT

Types of scans

FDG Metabolic Brain study

What: A PET brain scan is used to either diagnose, stage, restage, or monitor therapy response to primary brain cancers or metastatic brain tumors. FDG PET/CT brain studies can also differentiate different types of dementia.

Images are acquired of just the brain after the same uptake period used in all other PET exams.

What to expect: Plan to be at the testing center for 1 ½ to 2 hours. It is important to arrive on time. If you cannot arrive on time, please call 24 hours in advance to reschedule your test.

A PET-CT brain study is not painful but it requires patience. You will receive an injection in advance of the scan. It takes 60 minutes for the material to be distributed throughout your body. During this time you will be asked to relax comfortably in a recliner in a quiet dark room. You will also need to be still for the entire scan, which takes 15-25 minutes depending on what your doctor has ordered.

Prep: You will receive very detailed instructions to prepare for your study. The quality of your scan depends on your adherence to these directions, so it is very important to follow them closely. If you have any questions about this procedure, please call our office to speak to a specialist. Prep may vary based on your study. Please be sure to review the instructions specific to your study.

  • Do not eat or drink for at least 6 hours before your exam, with the exception of water.
  • Drink 3-4 8-oz glasses of water within 4 hours prior to your test; empty your bladder as often as needed.
  • If your doctor has told you to take your regular medicine, you may take it with water.
  • Do not consume nicotine or caffeine 4 hours prior to your exam.

Safety notes: Follow the same safety guidelines as the general PET/CT.

Sodium Fluoride (NaF18) Bone Scan

What: An NaF PET/CT Bone Scan is used to detect areas of bone abnormality due to fracture, tumors or other bone diseases. Most often, this exam is used for oncologic applications.

An image is taken of the entire skeletal system determining if cancer or other disease has spread to any bones in the body. This allows appropriate treatment to begin as soon as possible.

What to expect: Plan to be at the testing center for 2 to 2 ½ hours. It is important to arrive on time. If you cannot arrive on time, please call 24 hours in advance to reschedule your test.

The technologist will start an IV and inject a small amount of sodium fluoride. The IV will be removed and you will be asked to relax quietly in a comfortable recliner while the sodium fluoride works its way through your body. You may read or use electronic devices during the uptake period for a sodium fluoride bone scan.After the resting period you will be asked to empty your bladder and the technologist will escort you into the scanning room where you will lie down on the scanner table. It is important that you are comfortable and will need to lie as still as possible for 25-35 minutes as the table passes slowly through the scanner acquiring several sets of images. The procedure is painless and has no side effects.

Prep: The prep for the bone scan is different than a general PET/CT. You may continue to eat and drink normally prior to and after the scan. If you are on any medications, you may continue to take them. Drink plenty of fluids before and after the exam.

Safety notes: Follow the same safety guidelines as the general PET/CT.