See a virtual tour of a PET / CT WHAT IS PET/CT?
PET/CT stands for Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography. These are two separate non-invasive tests that are combined to give your physician information about both the physiological and anatomical appearance of your body, resulting in a more comprehensivediagnosis. PET captures functional images of very small changes in your bodys metabolism caused by the growth of abnormal cells, while CT images simultaneously allow physicians to measure the physical size, shape, and precise location of the diseased tissue or tumor. When the results of the scans are fused together they provide more complete information than either test alone. WHAT IS PET/CT USED FOR?
PET/CT is used to help diagnose a number of different diseases, including cancer, coronary heart disease, and seizure disorders. In cancer applications, PET/CT is used to diagnose cancer, stage its spread, and determine if current therapy methods are working. WILL MY INSURANCE COVER PET/CT?
Coverage for PET/CT Scans varies by insurance carriers. Please check with your doctors office or insurance company to learn about reimbursement specific to your scan. HOW MUCH TIME SHOULD I ALLOW?
You should allow approximately 2 hours for your appointment from check-in to completion of the exam. The scan itself takes between 30 and 45 minutes. IS PET/CT SAFE?
Yes, PET/CT is a very safe non-invasive procedure. The radioisotope injected into your body will not cause you to feel any different nor will you have any side effects from it. The radiation exposure you will receive from the PET/CT test is similar to receiving 2 conventional whole-body diagnostic CT scans. WHY IS PET/CT NOT WELL KNOWN?
You have probably heard of CT scans as they have been in the diagnostic realm for years. PET has also been around since the 1980s, but it has just moved from the research side to diagnostic clinical areas in about the last 7 years. The combination of PET/CT has been only been available for about the last 3 years. ARE THERE ALTERNATIVES TO PET/CT?
Yes and no. There are other exams that you can have performed such as CT, MRI, or X-ray. However, all of these examine only the physical structure of your body whereas the PET scan looks to see if the cancer is still active in your body. Therefore, these other scans are useful in determining the size and location of a tumor, but none of them can determine the tumors viability. HOW DOES THE PROCEDURE WORK?
When you arrive for your PET/CT scan you will be registered by our office personnel. They will provide you with a bottle of CT contrast to drink for the scan. A nurse or technologist will take you to a prep area where they will ask you some questions about your medical history and explain the test to you.
They may obtain a small blood sample to check your blood sugar (glucose) level. Elevated glucose levels (over 200) will necessitate canceling the scan as it may provide false results.
The nurse or technologist will then start an IV line through which you will be given a small amount of radioactive sugar (FDG). Diabetic patients need not worry; it would take 1 million doses of FDG to equal the glucose in 1 teaspoon of sugar.
You will be given another 1/2 bottle of CT contrast to drink and will be asked to rest quietly for about 45 minutes as the tracer is distributed throughout your body. The IV line will be removed and you will drink the remaining 1/2 bottle of CT contrast.
A staff member will escort you to the restroom to empty your bladder and ask you to remove any metal or possibly change into a hospital gown. The technologist will position you on the scanning bed as comfortably as possible. The CT will be done first and you will be asked to hold your breath at certain times. Then you will be moved into the machine very slowly as the PET portion is acquired. You will be able to leave after the scan. DO I NEED TO DO ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY AFTER THE SCAN?
You may continue with your normal routine, but we encourage you to drink plenty of fluids and empty your bladder often to help clear the radiation from your system. We also recommend waiting a few hours before spending time with an infant or pregnant woman. WHEN WILL I GET MY RESULTS?
A radiologist will read your scan and send a report to your physician, typically within a few days. Your physician will provide the results at your next appointment. PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS
Accuracy of the PET/CT scan depends very heavily on your bodys metabolic activity and is controlled by factors described below.
IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT YOU FOLLOW ALL OF THESE INSTRUCTIONS:
Nothing to eat or drink (except water) for at least 6 hours before your scan. This includes candy, gum, mints, cough drops, and Nicorette gum.
If you are diabetic, please contact us for special arrangements.
You may take prescribed medications with water. If any of your medications must be taken with food, ask your doctor whether you should skip your morning dose, take it later in the day, or take it without food on the day of your scan.
Try to keep well hydrated unless you are on fluid restrictions.
DO NOT perform any strenuous or vigorous activity (ex. aerobic, jogging) for at least 24 hours prior to the scan.
If you are extremely claustrophobic or tend to be extremely nervous and fidgety, consult your doctor about the advisability of taking a tranquilizer before coming for your PET/CT scan.
If you do require sedation, PLEASE arrange to have someone drive you home after you test.
Wear comfortable clothing and, if possible, avoid clothing with metal snaps, buttons, and zippers. Directions To Sentara CarePlex Hospital
3000 Coliseum Drive, Hampton, VA 23666 757-827-2430
From I-64 West
Take the exit for NASA/Poquoson - exit 262B
Turn Right at the first traffic signal onto Hardy Cash Drive
Proceed straight ahead on Hardy Cash Drive,
across Coliseum Drive and into the hospital campus
From I-64 East
Take the exit for Hampton Roads Center Pkwy East - exit 261B
Turn Right on Coliseum Drive and get into the left lane
Turn Left at first light into the hospital campus Directions To Lake Wright Center
5900-B Lake Wright Dr., Norfolk, VA 23502 757-213-5770
Take I-64 West towards Norfolk
Exit at #282 Rt. 13 Northampton Blvd.
Take Rt. 13 South at bottom of exit (left at traffic light)
Get in right lane on Northampton Blvd.
Turn right at next traffic light (USAA Drive)
Turn right on Lake Wright Drive
Take I-64 East towards Chesapeake/Va. Beach
Exit at 1st Military Highway exit
Turn left onto Elizabeth Ave.
Turn left onto USAA Drive
Turn right onto Lake Wright Drive
From Virginia Beach
Take 264 to I-64 towards Williamsburg/Hampton
Exit at #282 - Northampton Blvd/Rt. 13
Turn left onto Rt. 13 (Northampton Blvd.)
Turn right at next traffic light onto USAA Drive
Turn right onto Lake Wright Drive