What is a PET/CT Scan?
PET/CT is a powerful imaging tool that combines a PET (positron emission tomography) scan and a computed tomography (CT) scan. PET/CT is used to diagnose, stage, or restage cancer, as well as evaluate the effectiveness of treatment. The images provide information about the location, nature, and size of a tumor or mass. The CT’s newer technology and faster scan times result in less radiation exposure to patients. Its wider open design decreases claustrophobia and provides better access for larger patients and radiation therapy planning for cases requiring more space, such as breast cancer.
At Desert Imaging, we use a 64-slice GE system, which features the most advanced technology in the greater El Paso region. During the exam, the patient is first injected with a glucose (sugar) solution that contains a tracer. The tracer is absorbed by the particular organs or tissues being examined. The PET/CT scanner is then able to "see" damaged or cancerous cells where the glucose is absorbed (cancer cells use more glucose than healthy cells). The exam is painless and takes approximately two hours to complete.