PET/CT at ZP
Zwanger-Pesiri is dedicated to providing the latest PET/CT technology, the Siemens Biograph, in Nassau and Suffolk counties. By incorporating the latest knowledge, innovation and equipment, ZP sets the bar in the field of molecular imaging on Long Island.
All PET/CT studies are interpreted by board certified nuclear medicine radiologists, many of whom have national and international reputations in the field. Our board certified nuclear medicine technologists work hand-in-hand with physicians and other health professionals to provide care, comfort and an accurate diagnostic plan for each patient.
What is PET/CT?
PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography and CT stands for Computed Tomography. A PET/CT combines PET and CT imaging to provide very detailed information about both the function and structure of the tissues and organs in the body. This test is safe, painless and non-invasive.
A PET scan shows how tissues and organs are functioning at the cellular level, allowing physicians to see metabolic changes before they can be seen on a CT or an MRI scan. A CT scan shows very detailed information about the anatomy, such as location and size. A PET/CT scan enables these two types of imaging studies to be performed in a single scan. The images can be merged and interpreted together, which leads to a more precise and accurate diagnosis.
A PET/CT is used primarily to diagnose cancer and neurological problems early and accurately, stage and restage cancer and help assess a patient's response to cancer treatments.
How does PET/CT work?
To acquire the PET images, a small amount of a radioactive material or radiotracer is injected into your body and is given time to be absorbed by the cells. A specially developed scanner records images and measures the accumulation of the radiotracer. More of the radiotracer material will accumulate in the cells with higher chemical activity, which generally corresponds to areas of disease or “hot spots” on the study.
For the CT portion, a powerful x-ray tube and high resolution digital detector rotate very fast inside the doughnut-shape to obtain pictures from all different angles. Very thin 2-dimensional pictures are acquired, which the computer can assemble into 3-dimensional pictures. This allows the doctor to look layer by layer at the area being scanned and provides greater detail to aid in the diagnostic process.
The images from the PET scan and the CT scan are merged together to provide the doctor with a comprehensive look at both the metabolic function and the structure of the tissues and organs within the area of study.
How do I prepare for a PET/CT scan?
When scheduling your appointment (online or by phone), provide us with your email address and we will send you personalized forms with your information already filled in. You will only have to update or add any missing information. If your email address is not provided, you can still save time by downloading the PET/CT forms and completing them prior to arriving at the office.
24 hours prior to the PET/CT scan:
Refrain from any strenuous activity and do not eat or drink any caffeinated products (no coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, etc.), decaffeinated products or juice. Eat a low carbohydrate diet (no bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, cereals, beans or sweets). Chicken, fish, eggs, beef, cheese, bacon and green vegetables are all okay to eat.
On the day of the PET/CT scan:
You must not eat, drink, smoke or chew for 6 hours prior to your exam time. Water and medications are okay.
Remove all jewelry and any other metallic objects such as metal zippers, body piercings and removable dental work. Wearing a sweatsuit with no metal may prevent you from having to change into a gown.
If you are receiving I.V. contrast for the CT portion of the exam, click here.
Bring with you to the appointment:
- Prescription from your doctor.
- Current insurance card.
- Authorization number from your insurance carrier.
- Any forms you completed at home.
- Credit card or cash for your insurance co-pay.
- Any relevant studies from another facility. We like to compare the new PET/CT scan with previous studies to assist in the diagnostic process.
- Picture identification.
Plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time.
What happens during the scan?
All metal must be removed before your scan including jewelry, eyeglasses, belt buckles and any clothing with metal zippers or buttons. Metal interferes with the quality and accuracy of the images captured during the PET/CT scan. You may be asked to change into a gown.
After reviewing your medical history, the nurse or technologist will place an intravenous needle/catheter into a vein in your arm or hand. Your blood sugar level will then be checked and the radioactive tracer will be administered through the I.V.
You will be brought to a very quiet room to rest for one hour to allow the radiotracer to circulate through your body and be absorbed by the cells. The radiotracer is taken up by both normal and abnormal tissue, according to their metabolic rate.
You will then be brought into the PET/CT room and asked to lie down on the scanning table. The scanning table you are lying on will be moved into the center of the doughnut-shaped opening and the test will begin. The machine never touches you. Be sure to remain as still as possible to ensure the best possible images. Although the PET/CT technologist cannot stay in the room with you during the scan, he or she will be able to talk to you from outside the room through an intercom. The entire scanning portion of the exam takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
Once all of the images have been recorded, the scanning table will move out of the PET/CT machine and the technologist will return to assist you off the table.
Try to increase your fluid intake for the next 24 hours to help flush the radiotracer and contrast dye out of your system.
What will I do when I arrive?
Present your prescription, insurance card and completed forms at the front desk. If any additional forms are required, they will be given to you at this time.
Be sure to inform the receptionist and technologist if you:
- Have allergies, specifically to iodine.
- Have any compromised kidney function or a history of kidney disease.
- Are pregnant, think you may be pregnant or are breast feeding.
- Are currently taking any medications.
- Have any metal or a medical device in your body.
- Have diabetes.
- Have asthma.
- Have any relevant studies from another facility. We like to compare the new PET/CT study with any previous studies to assist in the diagnostic process.
When can I expect the results?
One of our board certified nuclear medicine radiologists interprets your images, compares them to any previous studies and dictates a report which is transcribed, proofread and signed.
The report is then faxed and mailed to your referring doctor within one or two days.
Your doctor will read the report and review the findings with you.
All of your signed reports and images are available to your referring doctor on our physician’s web portal.