What is PET?
Considered to be the newest in molecular anatomic imaging, PET is a powerful metabolic imaging technique that uses a radiopharmaceutical to help diagnose cancer and find its precise location in the body, as well as its staging and management. In addition to its contribution to oncology, PET imaging is also very useful in cardiology/cardiac surgery and neurology/psychiatry.
How does it Work?
In PET imaging, an injected radiopharmaceutical emits positrons inside the patient’s body. These positrons are annihilated almost immediately when they encounter electrons in the body, generating high-energy photons. The PET scanner registers the traveling patterns of the photons and produces high-resolution imaging. Note: The FDG agent loses its activity 110 minutes after injection.
What to Expect:
Fasting patients receive an injection of the radiopharmaceutical agent called fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), sometimes called radioactive sugar. After the injection, patients are required to rest for about 30-60 minutes for the uptake phase. The PET exam itself takes about 30 minutes to complete. Insulin-dependent patients are closely monitored before and during the exam.