A PET/CT scan is a type of advanced diagnostic imaging test. It combines a PET scan and a CT scan with both exams done at the same time. The PET scan maps out where tracers go to show cells in the body that are overactive. The most common type of PET scan is used to assess the rate of sugar use in cells in the body. Abnormal cells such as cancer grow more rapidly and use more sugar for energy. Normal cells and scar tissue use very little or no sugar in comparison.
For the PET scan, you will be injected with a special sugar called FDG. It is radioactive so that it can be seen using the PET scanner. The scanner will create a 3-D map of your body which will be used by a Nuclear Medicine specialist to answer your doctor’s specific question.
The PET portion of the study is combined with a CT scan that is done to localise the FDG to particular body parts and adjust for different body shapes. This CT scan does not replace a regular CT scan - if you have a CT scan scheduled, you will still need to have that as well.
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