PET (Positron-Emission Tomography) Scan
One of the most important and powerful diagnostic imaging tools available today is the PET/CT scanner. This hybrid scanner combines two technologies to offer physicians and patients tremendously valuable information to pinpoint certain disease states in the body. ARMC has the only PET/CT scanner in Northeast Georgia.
Benefits of PET/CT Scans
PET (Positron-Emission Tomography) uses highly sophisticated computers to create color imagery that demonstrates the biological function of the body. CT images provide information about the body's anatomy, such as size, shape, location, etc. These two sets of information provide physicians with the power to detect and pinpoint the source of cancer and determine if it is isolated in one area or has spread to other organs.
PET/CT scans are also valuable in assessing certain brain disorders. A PET scan can identify changes associated with Alzheimer's disease before any other diagnostic test, potentially allowing for early drug therapy and future personal planning before the loss of mental capacity begins.
Finally, PET/CT scans can play an important role in the fight against heart disease. PET scans of the heart can be used to determine blood flow to the heart muscle and help evaluate signs of coronary artery disease. These scans can also tell physicians if areas of the heart that show decreased function as a result of a prior heart attack are still alive, and if they would benefit from a procedure that would reestablish adequate blood flow and improve heart function.
For a PET scan, the technologist will inject a very small dose of a radioactive chemical, called a radiotracer, into the vein of your arm. You'll be directed to a waiting room while the tracer travels through the body and is absorbed by the organs and tissues being studied. This should take about 30 to 60 minutes.
You will then be asked to lie on a table in front of the machine and hold very still. The table will move very slowly into and out of the machine, which is shaped like a doughnut. The machine will take pictures of the dye as it moves through your body.
This technology is offered at the Medical Services Building at Athens Regional Medical Center. The PET/CT scanner is located between the Radiation Oncology Department (where you should register) and the Breast Health Center.