Nuclear Medicine
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A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is an imaging test that allows doctors to check for disease in your body. The scan uses radioactive tracers in a special dye. These tracers are injected into a vein in your arm and are then absorbed by your organs and tissues. When highlighted under a PET scanner, the tracers allow doctors to see how well your organs and tissues are working. The PET scan is able to measure blood flow, oxygen use, glucose metabolism (how your body uses sugar), detect cancer etc.How does CT work? CT uses X-rays to perform its work. These X-rays come from an X-ray tube which is placed inside a square machine called the gantry. The part of your body to be scanned goes inside a hole in this gantry. Why is CT such a good modality? Ordinary X-ray pictures are one-dimensional representations of body parts but CT allows us to section the body to view its inner parts. Thus, the skull X-ray only shows us the outer part, whereas CT shows us the inner parts of the brain. Where is CT useful? All parts of the body can be scanned with CT. For each part, there are specific indications or reasons for scanning. Your referring doctor and the consultant radiologist are the best judges of the usefulness of CT scanning in a specific situation and areas. Are there any dangers of CT scanning? Though X-rays involve radiation, there are no dangers, in practice. In women who are pregnant, however, CT scanning should be done after weighing all the risks. What is the injection that I may receive? Majority of the patients will be injected with a "dye" which enhances the ability of CT scans to pick up abnormalities. This is routine. The dye used is a non-ionic contrast medium, which is much safer than the routine, cheaper, ionic dyes. Are there any complications because of the "dye"? 0.5% of patients may get nausea and redness of the skin. Though severe reactions are known, these are very rare and uncommon.


PET- CT scans are performed to:

  • Detect cancer
  • Determine whether a cancer has spread in the body
  • Assess the effectiveness of a treatment plan, such as cancer therapy
  • Determine if a cancer has returned after treatment
  • Determine blood flow to the heart muscle
  • Determine the effects of a heart attack, or myocardial infarction, on areas of the heart
  • Identify areas of the heart muscle that would benefit from a procedure such as angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery(in combination with a myocardial perfusion scan)
  • Evaluate brain abnormalities, such as tumors, memory disorders, seizures and other central nervous system disorders
  • Map normal human brain and heart function


An advanced nuclear imaging technique that combines positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) into one machine.

  • A PET/CT scan reveals information about both the structure and function of cells and tissues in the body
  • During a PET/CT scan, the patient has first injected with a glucose (sugar) solution that contains a very small amount of radioactive material. The substance is absorbed by the particular organs or tissues being examined
  • The PET/CT scanner is able to see damaged or cancerous cells where the glucose is being taken up and the rate at which the tumor is using the glucose
  • The procedure is painless and varies in length, depending on the part of the body that is being evaluated