64-slice PET/CT the gold standard in diagnosing, staging, planning and monitoring the treatment of cancer.
What is a PET/CT scan?
A PET/CT scanner is a very specialised device which combines PET with CT.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is an imaging procedure which shows the chemical function of an organ or tissue rather than its anatomical structure. A radioactive glucose (or tracer) is injected via a vein and is then taken up by tissues in your body. The PET scanner detects the activity within your organs which indicates whether the activity is normal or not.
CT imaging is a highly advanced form of x-ray which shows the anatomical detail inside the body and detects alterations of structure caused by disease.
What to expect when arriving for an appointment?
To view a short video on what to expect when arriving for your appointment, click here.
When patients arrive at the PET/CT Centre our nurse will confirm they have undertaken the correct preparation for the scan and talk through the procedure , including a questionnaire. The nurse will also perform a quick glucose check via a finger pin prick.
Following these preliminaries, a needle will be placed in the arm and the tracer injected. After the injection, patients must wait a minimum of one hour before the scan.
During this one hour period patients will be resting quietly in a dimly lit room. It is very important during this time to relax avoid talking, and avoid any significant movement.
When patients go in for the scan they have a PET study first followed immediately by a CT scan, which will involve another injection, this time using CT contrast.
After the study, patients may stay in the Centre for a short time. We recommend that patients resume their normal diet after the examination and drink plenty of fluids for a few days to help clear any remaining tracer from the body.
Are there any risks or side effects?
The PET/CT scan is a very safe and routine procedure. Millions of PET scans have been performed around the world without complications. The radioactive glucose patients receive is very safe and has no known side effects. The amount of radioactivity administered for the PET scan is small and will be out of the system by the end of the day. However, because it takes a few hours to leave the bidy, we suggest patients minimise contact with others (especially children and pregnant women) for 24 hours following scans.
CT is also a safe and routine procedure. It may be necessary to have an injection of contrast for the CT part of the scan. Patients will be asked questions regarding any previous Iodine contrast reactions prior to any scan being performed.
The radiation patients are exposed to during an x-ray is low and we take every precaution to ensure this dose is minimised.
If patients know or think they may be pregnant, they must tell the referring doctor and the radiographer performing the examination.
How long does it take?Performing the scan will take about 20 minutes but the entire appointment will take 2-3 hours.
Is there any special preparation?
Townsville PETCT Centre
How much does it cost?
The cost will vary depending on the reason for having the scan. Medicare has permitted us rebates for a limited number of clinical indications – the referring doctor and our reception staff will help explain this.