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PET Scans for Women and Men at Magee-Womens Imaging

About PET Scans

Positron emission tomography (PET) is an imaging scan that shows activity within your body's tissues.

Board-certified radiologists at Magee-Womens Imaging perform PET scans on many body parts, including your:

  • Abdomen
  • Brain
  • Breast
  • Lungs
  • Pelvis
  • Prostate

PET scans help radiologists:

  • Discover tumors and and stage of disease
  • Determine reasons for seizures and memory disorders
  • Further explain brain metabolism

PET scans rely on a substance, injected prior to the scan, that gives off a tiny amount of radiation. This substance goes to the part of your body that is most active and releases tiny particles, called positrons. A camera records the positrons and transfers the information to a computer to produce an image. Your radiologist can then detect the substance and, from that, check your blood flow and make sure your organs are working properly.

Preparation for Your PET Scan

Your doctor or nurse will discuss with you what medications you should or should not take prior to having a PET scan. To ensure an accurate reading, we ask that you do not:

  • Smoke, eat, or drink up to six hours before the test
  • Consume alcohol or caffeine within 24 hours before the test

What to Expect During Your PET Scan

On the day of your PET scan, a technologist will give you a radioactive substance either by an injection or inhalation. You will be asked to rest in a quiet room to allow for total uptake of the isotope. On average, it will take:

  • About an hour for your body’s tissues to absorb the substance
  • Between 30 and 45 minutes to complete the actual scan

When it's time for your PET scan, your Magee technologist will:

  • Ask you to lie on a table — similar to MRI or CT scans — that slides into the PET scan machine, which records the energy levels of the substance.
  • Record and transfer the energy levels to a computer to study the blood flow in the area of interest.

After Your PET Scan

Your Magee radiologist will interpret your PET images and collaborate with your doctor to determine an accurate diagnosis and develop an individualized treatment plan that best suits your needs.