The actual PET/CT exam will vary for the specific condition that you are being examined for. Depending on the medical requirements you will either have a full body scan (30minutes-60minutes) or a brain scan (15minutes).
The general procedure for a full body scan with a PET/CT scanner is explained fully below:
- The patient lies on a comfortable, padded table.
- The table will move slowly through the tube-shaped PET/CT scanner to acquire the information needed to generate the medical diagnostic images.
- You will be asked to lie perfectly still during the entire scan because movement can interfere with the results.
- The first scan will be the CT scan
- During the CT scan you will be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds to minimize body movements.
- During the scan, you might hear a humming noise, but you will not feel anything unusual.
- In the CT scan X-rays are ‘fired’ at parts of your body and you may feel the table move while images are being acquired at certain locations in your body.
- The X-rays are picked up by the CT consol in the PET/CT scanner.
- The PET scan is the second scan and you remain on the same table, but maybe moved to another area of the scanner, depending on the make.
- The PET scanner registers gamma rays from the interaction between the FDG tracer and the machine.
- Once the PET scan has finished, both sets of acquired data (including CT scan data) are reconstructed and image registration software fuses the images whilst accounting for any differences in geometry.
- During the entire exam the technologist will monitor your condition
- The PET/CT scanning process should last approximately 60 minutes, with the scanning process varying depending upon your physician’s order