What is a PET/CT?

A PET/CT is a medical imaging procedure that combines two different types of tests – Positron Emission Tomography and Computed Tomography. A PET/CT merges both tests into one set of images. PET/CT is used to provide more information about cancer or other lesions, including diagnosis, staging and evaluation of treatment.  CAMC uses the latest technology in PET/CT to get the most detailed images that help doctors diagnose and plan treatment.

Reasons for use of PET/CT

• To further identify lesions or abnormalities found during an X-ray or CT scan

• To stage or restage cancer

• To evaluate the effectiveness of cancer treatment

• To detect the spread of cancer from the original site

How does a PET/CT test work?

PET is a type of nuclear medicine imaging that helps doctors evaluate how well organs and tissues are functioning. PET uses a small amount of a radioactive tracer material, administered through an IV, to assist in the exam. After this material is introduced into the body, the scan is done to look at how the organ or tissue processes the tracer.

By measuring both the metabolism (activity) and biochemical properties of an organ or tissue, a PET scan can often identify the onset of a disease process before any other changes related to the disease can be seen with other imaging exams (such as MRI or CT).

A CT scan uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce images of the body, including bones, muscles, fat, organs and blood vessels. CT provides many different views or “slices” of the same organ or structure, and is much more detailed than traditional X-rays.

The ability to see your entire body in a single PET/CT scan allows for greater accuracy in diagnosis and treatment of diseases by merging the detailed anatomical images from a CT with the ability of PET to show cell function and metabolism. On the PET image, the physician sees how the body is functioning. On the CT image, the physician sees the body’s structure. When combined into a PET/CT image, the patient’s complete picture is revealed.

What to expect

For the PET/CT exam, you should plan to be with us for 1.5 to 2 hours. This time includes the patient interview, injection, uptake and imaging phases.

Plan to arrive one hour prior to your scheduled appointment. No food or drink, other than water, 6 hours prior to your exam. You may take all of your medication with water.  Please bring a list of medications with you the day of your exam.

If you are a diabetic, take your insulin or diabetic medication as usual.  Insulin must be administered a minimum 5 hours prior to your scheduled time.

Please do not wear clothing with any metal or any jewelry.

If you need to reschedule your exam, please do so 24 hours in advance.

PET/CT scans are performed at the CAMC Imaging Center – Kanawha City:

3416 MacCorkle Ave., SE
 Charleston, WV 25304
 (304) 388-1660

A PET/CT requires an order from your physician. Your referring physician’s office can call CAMC Central Scheduling at (304) 388-9677 to schedule you for a PET/CT procedure.