PET•CT Patient Guide

Menorah Medical Center offers advanced diagnostic capabilities that enables physicians to make life-saving diagnoses.

We are committed to offering state-of-the-art imaging technology to people in our community When you or someone you love is in need of diagnostic imaging services, we will provide the accurate images using advanced technology. If you have questions about our imaging technology or any of our imaging services, please call us at (913) 498-7363 or speak with your physician.

What is PET•CT?

PET•CT is a highly sophisticated imaging technique that actually combines two scans during a single exam: a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan that shows the body’s physiologic changes, and a Computed Tomography (CT) scan that shows the structure of the anatomy where the changes are taking place. Combining these two images provides detailed information to physicians about the presence or spread of disease and accurately identifies its precise location.

PET•CT is commonly used to diagnose, stage and or restage variety of types of cancer. It can be used to monitor tumor response to treatment during the planned course of therapy, or in non-invasive cardiac diagnosis and stroke assessment.

Benefits of PET•CT?

  • Fast, straightforward and painless
  • Non-invasive
  • May significantly reduce medical costs, personal discomfort and potential complications compared to invasive
  • Provides a complete picture of what is happening in the body and can help physicians accurately diagnose many types of diseases
  • The scanner’s large open scanning zone accommodates a variety of patients and alleviates the sense of claustrophobia
  • Combines two tests into one, which may reduce the number of tests a patient needs

Preparing for your PET•CT examination

  • Do not eat or drink for 4-6 hours before your exam
  • Notify your physician if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or diabetic
  • Wear comfortable clothing
  • Take any prescribed medication, unless instructed otherwise

Before the Examination

After checking in at the Radiation Oncology Center, you will receive an intravenous (IV) injection of a radioactive tracer, and will distribute throughout your body as you rest for 30-45 minutes. During your examination, the PET scanner detects signals from the radioactive tracer as it travels through your body. Because diseased cells process the tracer more rapidly than healthy body tissues, the scanner will detect increased activity as potential areas of concern.

During the Examination

You will lie on the scanning bed and our technologist will instruct you and keep you informed during the entire exam. Because movement of the body while the pictures are being taken requires the scan to be repeated, it is very important to remain as still as possible and to breathe normally, unless told otherwise. You may be required to keep your arms above your head during the exam, which will likely take less than 20 minutes. The bed will move slowly through the PET•CT scanner opening, first taking a CT scan, followed by a PET scan.

After the Examination

After you are discharged from the imaging center, you may drive and resume normal activities immediately, unless you have received sedation. Over the next few hours, the small amount of radioactive tracer administered to you will break down and leave your body naturally through your bladder. To help clear this tracer more rapidly, drink as much fluid as possible for the remainder of the day and empty your bladder frequently, as long as this does not affect any other instructions given by your doctor. A trained physician will interpret the images produced by your PET•CT scan and will report the final results to your referring physician, usually within 24 hours. Your ordering physician will contact you with the final report.

Paying for your PET•CT scan

Medicare and most private insurers cover PET•CT scans for many indications. Check with your provider about your insurance coverage, and Menorah will be happy to file a claim on your behalf.