How PET Scan Testing Works

A patient lies on a table with a large circular device at its head. There is equipment with medical cable assemblies, lights, and many futuristic-looking controls. This technology (called a PET scan) is a useful tool that helps medical professionals see into the body in ways that x-ray technology can’t match. But what is a PET scan and how does it work? Let’s look closer to see.

What is PET Scan Technology?

Pet scan equipment tracks radioactive materials as they pass through the body. However, these substances are not harmful. They use natural glucose products like FDG or fluorodeoxyglucose. The body breaks it down the same way it does glucose.

The PET scan machine uses its equipment and medical cable assemblies to check for specific concentrations of FDG in the body. In fact, the test is often used to detect cancer cells, because they use much more glucose than normal cells.

PET scans can detect problems in the brain too. They are effective tools for determining the cause of some forms of dementia.

What Happens During the Test?

If you are scheduled for a PET scan, you should refrain from eating for at least six hours before the test. It’s fine to drink water, and you can wear comfortable clothing, but you may need to change to a gown. Jewelry is not recommended as it may interfere with your test.

You’ll receive an injection with a radiotracer, and then you need to wait for an hour. To start, you lie on the table that moves to the scanner part. The test is painless, and there’s no need to hook a lot of medical cable assemblies or wires to your body.

There are no major side effects of PET scans because you receive a very small dose of radiation. Your doctor will discuss the results with you on your next office visit.

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