Positron Emmission Tomography at Medical City Denton
Please remember that the material presented here is for informational purposes only. If you have specific questions about a medical imaging procedure, contact your physician or the radiology department of the institution where your test will be performed.
You may hear the terms "PET" and "SPECT" used in conjunction with nuclear medicine procedures. Positron emission tomography, or PET, uses a special camera and computer to construct a 3-D image of the area being scanned. PET is increasingly being used to image the heart and brain. Single photon emission computerized tomography, or SPECT, produces a cross-sectional image of the area being scanned. During a SPECT examination, a gamma camera encircles the patient, collecting photons emitted from the radiopharmaceutical and transforming them into visual data.
After the examination, your nuclear medicine scans will be reviewed by a radiologist, a physician who specializes in the interpretation of diagnostic medical images. Your personal physician will receive a report of the radiologist's findings. Your physician then will advise you of the results and discuss what further procedures, if any, are needed.
The radiation that you are exposed to during a nuclear medicine procedure is equal to or less than a standard x-ray or CT scan covering the same body area. In general, the radiopharmaceutical administered during the examination will be eliminated naturally from your body in one or two days. Drinking fluids will help clear the radiopharmaceutical from your system more quickly. You do not need to avoid contact with other people during this time, although your physician may recommend simple acts, such as flushing the toilet twice after using it, to reduce the small chance of radiation exposure to others in your household.