A Quick Look at PET Scan Technology

PET Brain Scan Video

Positron emission tomography (PET) scanners are based on incredibly complex technology. Before you head over to the radiology center near San Antonio for your PET brain scan , take a few minutes to watch this featured video. It explains that the nuclear medicine technologist will inject a specially prepared, radioactive tracer material into your bloodstream before the test. Then, your exam table will slide into the PET scanner.

This video explains that the radioactive atoms inside the tracer give off positrons, which are subatomic particles. When a positron strikes an electron, the particles destroy each other and release energy as gamma rays that travel in opposite directions out of the patient. The PET scanner detects the gamma rays and calculates the exact position of the tracer. The results allow the radiologist to examine a precise, 3D image of the bodily structure.

Your First Mammogram

Mammogram Video

Doctors in San Antonio recommend mammograms as a first line of defense against breast cancer. If your doctor has referred you to an imaging center for your first mammogram , it’s a good idea to call ahead to receive instructions. The radiologist will ask that you arrive at the imaging center wearing a comfortable, two-piece outfit. Bathe the morning of your appointment and avoid applying any lotion, deodorant, or talcum powder to the breasts and the surrounding area. You can bring these products with you to apply afterward.

Watch this video to hear a doctor explain what you can expect at your first mammogram. She discusses how the radiology technologist will position your breasts, one at a time, on a special platform. The breast is slightly compressed for several seconds to capture the image. After your appointment, you can return to your usual activities right away.

Are CT Scans Safe?

MRI Scan

A computed tomography (CT) scan or CAT scan is just one of the sophisticated tests you’ll find at Concord Imaging in San Antonio. If you have safety concerns about radiology exams, please feel free to discuss these with your doctor or the radiology professional. During your CT scan, you’ll be exposed to low levels of radiation, as the CT scanner uses X-ray technology to create medical images. There is a risk of cancer caused by radiation and CT scans expose patients to higher levels of radiation compared to the typical dose of a chest X-ray. However, medical experts tend to agree that the risk of cancer caused by radiation is generally smaller than a person’s natural risk of cancer.

Some patients undergoing CT scans are asked to receive a contrast agent prior to the exam. The contrast agent helps to improve the clarity of the medical images. Rarely, some people may experience allergic reactions from this substance. Your doctor might recommend a different medical imaging test if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, due to the risk of radiation to the child.

CT - Scans

What to Expect During Your PET Scan

Doctor Looking at Monitor

Positron emission tomography (PET) scans are sophisticated medical exams that allow radiologists to capture detailed information about the function of the organs and tissues. If you’re expecting an upcoming visit to an imaging center in San Antonio for a PET scan , it’s a good idea to learn a little bit about what you can expect. Additionally, you should call the imaging center ahead of time to find out how you should prepare for your appointment. PET - scan

Preparations

You may be asked to avoid strenuous exercise for a couple of days and to avoid eating for a few hours prior to your appointment at the imaging center. You should inform the radiologist about your underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, prior allergic reactions, recent hospitalizations or illnesses, or claustrophobia. Let the radiology professional know if you’re pregnant, could be pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

Radiopharmaceutical

Upon your arrival, you’ll be asked to change into a hospital gown. You’ll receive an injection of a radioactive drug or radiopharmaceutical. Most often, PET scans involve the use of FDG. This is a form of glucose or sugar that is radioactive. The amount of glucose that is used is not sufficient to cause any sort of problems for diabetic patients. The slight pinprick you’ll feel when the injection is administered is the only discomfort that occurs during a PET scan.

Scan

After receiving the injection, you’ll be asked to rest for a period of time. This gives the glucose some time to work its way through your body. Then, you’ll be positioned on a padded, moveable exam table. This table slides into the PET scanner. You’ll be asked to remain as still as possible during the test, which typically takes about 30 minutes. Some patients undergo a CT scan combined with a PET scan.

Recovery

You can return to your usual activities after you leave the imaging center. The radiopharmaceutical is eliminated from your body relatively quickly, but you’ll be asked to drink plenty of water to help flush it out.