PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography. It is a special nuclear medicine exam that produces powerful three dimensional images of the body's functions A PET scan uses a small amount of a radioactive isotope to show differences between healthy and diseased tissue (such as cancer), often before they are large enough to cause a change in anatomy. A PET-CT combines the PET scan’s ability to detect changes in cell function with the fine structural detail provided by CT.
Larchmont Medical Imaging offers the area’s only high resolution PET-CT scanner that also allows us to lower the radiation dose to the patient.
Compounds that normally exist in the body, like glucose, are labeled with radioactive tracers and intravenously injected into the body. The scanner records the signals that tracer emits as it journeys though the body and as it collects in targeted cells. A powerful computer reassembles the signals into actual images, which then show biological maps of normal organ function and failure of organ systems.
PET-CT imaging has become extremely important in the treatment of cancer patients—in terms of diagnosis of cancer, initial staging of cancer, assessing response to therapy, and monitoring for cancer recurrence.
PET-CT is in use for all solid tumors including the following:
We also participate in The National Oncologic PET Registry (NOPR) for any type of cancer including:
PET-CT imaging can play a vital non-invasive role in neurology—by proving the early positive diagnosis of Alzheimer's dementia and in differentiating it from other forms of dementia, by being the only clear non-invasive modality to distinguish tumor recurrence and radiation necrosis in brain cancer patients, and by aiding in the pre-surgical assessment of patients with refractory epilepsy.
Just prior to your exam, you will be injected with a radioisotope that is only "good" or "effective" for a certain window of time. So, it is imperative to arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment in order to complete the registration process and begin the exam as scheduled. Also, since we must order this radioisotope specifically for you the day prior to your exam, we ask that you contact us at least 24 hours in advance if you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment.
For 24 hours prior to your PET-CT exam: refrain from exercise and limit carbohydrate intake.
On the day of your PET-CT exam: do not eat or drink four hours prior to your exam (water is OK and you can continue to take your medications). Wear loose, comfortable clothing without zippers or buckles.
For diabetic patients: please try and have your blood sugar regulated at the time of your exam (ideally 200 or under). We will test your levels when you arrive. While you cannot eat or drink four hours prior to your exam, it is OK to eat breakfast and take insulin. However, you cannot take regular insulin or glucagon at least one hour prior to your appointment time. Also, please bring your diabetic medication with you for your appointment in case we need to adjust your levels.
You will be injected with a radiotracer, which is a complex sugar labeled with a short-lived radioisotope. You will be asked to rest comfortably in a quiet room for 45 minutes while the radiotracer travels throughout your body. Then, you will lie on the PET-CT table and slowly pass through the scanner while actual PET and CT images of your body are recorded. A computer will combine these images in a process called "image fusion."