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PET/CT

PET AccreditationFairfax PET Imaging Center is a service of Inova Fairfax Hospital and Fairfax Radiological Consultants, PC. Inova Fairfax Hospital is part of the Inova Health System, a not-for-profit health care system.

Positron Emission Tomography, also called a PET scan, is a nuclear medicine exam that produces a three dimensional image of functional processes in the body. A PET scan uses a small amount of a radioactive drug to show differences between healthy and diseased tissue. The diagnostic images produced by PET are used to evaluate a variety of diseases.

What is a PET/CT scan?
PET/CT is the most advanced medical imaging technique available today combining Positron Emission Tomography with Computed Tomography. PET/CT combines the fine structural detail of CT with PET’s ability to detect changes in cell function. This combination allows for earlier and more accurate detection of disease than either CT or PET alone. A PET/CT can help your physician diagnose a problem, determine the best approach to treatment or monitor your progress.

How does PET/CT work?
Cancer cells tend to grow faster than normal cells. Growing cells use glucose (sugar) as a primary source of energy. The faster cells grow, the more glucose is taken up. A form of glucose called FDG, which emits particles called positrons, is injected into the patient. The FDG molecules are taken up more in fast-growing cancer cells than in normal cells, resulting in concentrations of FDG, and positrons in areas of cancer. A PET/CT scanner detects where positrons are being emitted from within a patient and provides images that map the locations. PET FDG mapping is combined with a CT images’ structural detail in order to identify both the presence of disease and its precise location.

PET ScanPET/CT Scans are done at the Fairfax PET Imaging Center. Preparation for the exam is provided during patient scheduling. To schedule an exam, call 703-698-4441.

Positron emission tomography, also called a PET scan, is a nuclear medicine exam that produces a three dimensional image of functional processes in the body. A PET scan uses a small amount of a radioactive drug to show differences between healthy and diseased tissue. The diagnostic images produced by PET are used to evaluate a variety of diseases. PET CT is a common diagnostic tool to detect cancer or evaluate the heart or brain.

PET is usually done on an outpatient basis and preparation for the exam is provided during patient scheduling. Based on the body area of interest, a nuclear medicine procedure is performed with the introduction of a specific type of radioactive “isotope” injection, followed by imaging of the area of the body where this isotope collects. After being introduced into the body, the radioactive substance takes approximately 30 to 90 minutes to travel through the body and be absorbed by the tissue under study. During this time, the patient rests quietly, avoiding significant movement or talking, which may alter the localization of the administered substance. The imaging portion of the study generally take 30 to 45 mintues.

All PET/CT Studies are done at our Fairfax PET/CT Imaging Center.

For more information on this topic, please visit www.Radiologyinfo.org.

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