PET scan| Indication, Patient Preparation, Post-Procedure Care

A PET scan is a diagnostic imaging technique in which patients are given a special radioactive substance that emits positrons; these in turn give rise to gamma rays, which are detected by a gamma camera. It gives a three-dimensional image of a picture of the functional process in the body.

Many different radioisotopes are useful in PET scanning. Such as fluorine - 18, Oxygen - 15, and carbon 11.13F are commonly used isotopes. It replaces the hydroxyl group in molecules of interest. A PET scan demonstrates the biological function of the body before anatomical changes take place while CT Scan provides information about the body anatomy such as size, shape, and location

Indications for PET scan

  • To detect malignancy
  • To diagnose Seizures/Epilepsy, Alzheimer and other Dementias, Schizophrenia, Depression, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and other neurologic disorder


  • PET camera
  • Medical cyclotron (for the production of Radioisotopes)

Preparation of the patient (PET scan)

  • Explain the procedure to the patient
  • The patient is asked to wear a gown during the exam
  • Make sure that the patient is not pregnant
  • 6-hour fasting is required
  • Explain to the patient that radioisotopes have to be given intravenously half prior to the study
  • The patient is asked to lie down quietly for about 30 minutes after the injection. It is very important to stay as still as possible during this time.

Post-procedure care (PET scan)

  • Inform the patient was the procedure is completed
  • Help him/her to be oriented back to the step-up
  • Make arrangements to send the patient back toward or OPD. (specific points will be discussed under each system)

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