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PET/CT Scan

PET/CT Scan

PET/CT imaging machine

PET/CT is an advanced imaging machine that performs two kinds of scans – PET scans (positron emission tomography) and CT scans (computed tomography) in one setting. Both types of scans create very detailed pictures of the organs and tissues inside the body. Doctors use these pictures to:

  • Catch certain diseases early
  • Track how those diseases are progressing
  • Create the best treatment plans

What Is PET/CT Most Often Used For?

  • Find and track cancer
  • Stage the patient’s cancer
  • Diagnose heart conditions
  • Evaluate brain conditions
  • Image the head and neck
  • Assess the effectiveness of treatment
  • Map normal brain and heart function
  • Evaluate suspected disease recurrence, relapse and/or residual disease

What Happens During a PET/CT?

During a PET scan, a small amount of radioactive dye (called a “tracer”) is injected into a patient’s vein. This tracer is absorbed by certain organs and tissues. The scanner then detects this tracer, allowing it to create detailed images of a patient’s blood flow, oxygen intake, and how well their organs and tissues are functioning. The tracer usually quickly passes out of the body without causing any harm.  

When you are ready for your scan, you will have your blood sugar tested. Next, most patients will receive an oral contrast (barium drink). An IV will be started, and you will receive an injection of a small amount of radioactive dye. You will then be asked to wait very quietly.

During the actual scan, you will lie on a bed that passes slowly through the scanner. You will be asked to remain still on the bed during the scan. Most scans take 25 to 50 minutes, but the length of the scan will depend on the body areas being studied. You should be able to return to normal activities immediately after the scan.

Get answers to frequently asked questions about PET/CT >

High-Quality PET/CT at Temple and Fox Chase

Temple Health has some of the most advanced PET/CT scanners in the Philadelphia region at Temple University Hospital – Northeastern Campus, which is in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia, and at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Northeast Philadelphia.

Temple Health’s PET/CT scanners offer:

  • Very detailed images
  • Short scan times
  • Less radiation than other machines
  • Experienced Temple radiologists who quickly review the results
  • Comfortable scan and preparation rooms
  • Convenient, easy-to-reach locations
  • Free on-campus parking
  • Immediate appointments

Experienced PET/CT Readers

Both of Temple’s PET/CT scanners are operated by specially trained imaging technologists. All scans are reviewed by Temple Health radiologists who are among the most experienced in the region. Each has subspecialty training in interpreting the variables and intricacies of PET/CT scans to provide accurate and timely results.

Immediate PET/CT appointments are available. Call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) for more information or to schedule an appointment.