A PET scan is a type of scan that allows doctors to see inside the body. It is a non-invasive examination and can be completed fairly quickly. Doctors use the exam as a type of diagnostic tool. It is a type of imaging test that uses a radioactive chemical to point out health problems. It is often used to diagnose bone infection, heart disease, how far a tumor has spread in the body.
Why a Person May Need a PET Scan
Doctors may recommend a PET scan if they suspect a patient may have cancer, nervous system disorders, heart problems, or other health problems. The scan allows doctors to see inside a patient’s body and get a good view of complex systematic problems or illnesses. In some cases, doctors will perform a PET scan to diagnose a problem, even if they aren’t sure what is causing a patient’s symptoms.
Preparing for a PET Scan
Doctors will give their patients specific orders to prepare for a PET scan. Most patients are told that they shouldn’t do anything strenuous for 24 to 48 hours before the test. Patients will also be told to stay on a low-carbohydrate and no-sugar diet for 24 hours before the procedure. Patients who will receive anesthesia may be asked not to eat anything at all in the morning of the scan.
During a PET Scan
During the procedure, a patient will drink a solution that will allow doctors to trace a path through the body. Once the tracers have had the time to make their way through the body, the doctors will conduct the scan. The patient will lie still on a bed and pass through the machine. The patient will hear beeping and buzzing sounds but should remain completely still until the scan is done.
PET Scan Recovery
A PET scan is a non-invasive procedure that does not require much recovery time. The radioactive material may stay in the patient’s body for several days after the test, and anyone who has undergone a PET scan should limit their interaction with pregnant women and young children. Patients should drink plenty of water to help flush the radioactive material from their bodies. It usually takes 48 hours for the tracers to completely leave the patient’s system.
PET Scan Results
The results of a PET scan are usually available within two days. Doctors will read the results and come up with a diagnosis. They will inform the patient of the results and even explain the diagnosis. The results can show doctors if there are any problems in the body such as a tumor, cancer, or nervous system problems.