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What to Expect for Your First PET/CT Scan at Las Piñas Hospitals

June 18, 2019
scientist Scanning the brains Ct scan

What should you expect for your first PET/CT scan at Las Piñas Hospitals?

  1. Reasons to Get A PET/CT Scan
  2. Things to Do Before Your PET/CT Scan
  3. Things to Expect During Your PET/CT Scan
  4. Possible After Effects of Your PET/CT Scan

Positron Emission Tomography-Computer Tomography or PET/CT scan are ordered by doctors in Las Piñas hospitals to further inspect parts of the human body for any signs of disease. It is a series of x-rays taken around the human body which is combined and processed into cross-sectional images (slices) to have a clearer view of bones and blood vessels. In order to have a more successful scan, there are certain steps that you will need to do to prepare.

Here is a list of things you have to take note of before, during, and after your first PET/CT scan.


Reasons to Get A PET/CT Scan

A PET/CT scan has the ability to give doctors a look inside of your body. They can use this to detect bone and joint problems as well as fractures and tumors. This kind of scan can be prescribed by your doctor to check for any signs of heart disease, cancer, or masses around the body. They can also use this to check up on the progress of particular treatments. They can see if a tumor has grown or reduced in size or if infections have been reduced or not.

PET/CT scans can also be used in order to draft treatment plans and can help aid in procedures. For surgeries and biopsies, PET/CT scans can be crucial to locate the unwanted masses found within the body. Surgeons can craft the plan of action in terms of how they will choose to go about the removal of the mass. In terms of radiation therapy, PET/CT scans can help in controlling the radiation beams to specifically target only cancerous cells without affecting the healthy cells around it.

After being prescribed the kind of PET/CT scan you will need to do, there are a certain number of steps you need to take to prepare for the day of.


Things to Do Before Your PET/CT Scan

In order to prepare for your PET/CT scan, you may need to prohibit yourself from consuming anything for a certain amount of time. Your doctor will ask that you not consume any solid foods three hours before the scan. However, you are encouraged to drink clear liquids.

Drinking water or clear juice early on is encouraged in order to outline the stomach and bowel better in scans. It also assists in filling up the bladder in order to better observe it in the slices. It is suggested that you drink 500ml of water before your scan. This is to hydrate your body and prepare it for the incorporation of the contrast.

After finishing your preparations, you will then be asked to start the scan. Here are the things you should expect during the scan itself.


Things to Expect During Your PET/CT Scan

In order to better see your organs, you will be prescribed with a radiotracer that may be injected into your bloodstream, inhaled as a gas, or swallowed as a pill. This radioactive material will accumulate in the organ that will be scanned and will start to emit small amounts of gamma rays. These rays will be picked up by the PET/CT machine, which will take pictures of your organs and tissues.

The PET/CT Scan itself goes through multiple steps. Here is a summary of what you will experience:
● You will need to remove all pieces of metal from your body.
● You will be given the radiotracer either orally, through inhalation, or you will be attached to it through an intravenous line (IV).
● You will be asked to lie on top of a metal table, which will enter a large circular opening. Depending on which area is being scanned, you may be asked to lie down in a particular position.
● They will then slowly slide the table into the cylindrical machine.
● Remain very still while the procedure is ongoing.
● Once the scanning is completed, the table will slowly slide out of the circular machine.
● The technicians will then enter the room and help you up. If you are attached to an IV, they will remove it.
● Tell them right away if you are feeling short of breath or heart palpitations.

After the scan, observe your body in case of any reactions to the scan itself or to the contrast given to you.


Possible After Effects of Your PET/CT Scan

For the radiotracer, you should monitor if any side effects or reactions happen. This could be itching, a rash, swelling, or difficulty breathing. If you were given the radiotracer through an IV, the injection site should also be observed. If any pain, redness, or swelling occur, you should get it checked out by your doctor as it could be an indication of an infection.

You should expect to get your results 7 to 10 days after your scan. This is because the radiologist will need to take note of your results first before sending their findings to your doctor. After confirmation that your scan is ready, set up another appointment with the doctor who prescribed you with the scan in order for them to share the findings with you.

These are the things you should expect for your first PET/CT scan.


Key Takeaway

PET/CT Scans are relatively easy procedures. The preparation needed for it is simple and the procedure itself will be conducted by highly skilled professionals at Las Piñas hospitals. Make sure to follow the specific set of instructions given to you in order to produce the best quality of image possible. Keep this list in mind in order to prepare yourself for your first ever PET/CT scan.

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