A PET/CT scan examines the body’s chemistry. Cancer cells require a great deal of sugar (or glucose) to have enough energy to grow. PET/CT scanning utilizes a radioactive molecule that is similar to glucose, called fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). FDG accumulates within the malignant cells because of their high rate of glucose metabolism. One hour after injection of the FDG tracer, the patient is imaged on the PET/CT scanner to reveal cancer growth that may have been difficult to characterize by conventional CT, MRI or X-ray.
The PET/CT scanner enables the combination of two imaging modalities, which can provide additional diagnostic information to the interpreting physician. By monitoring the glucose metabolism, PET/CT provides very sensitive information about the biologic processes within the patient. The CT portion of the study provides detailed information about the location, size and shape of various FDG metabolic lesions to better differentiate active cancerous lesions from normal structures. PET/CT is more accurate than either PET or CT alone.
PET/CT procedures are performed for:
- Alzheimer’s Diagnosis versus other Dementias
- Bone (for metastatic diagnosis)
- Brain Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Cervical Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Head and Neck Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Thyroid Cancer
Frequently Asked Questions
Are PET/CT scans done in Radiology?
A mobile PET company called Alliance Imaging provides PET/CT scan services for Saint Joseph Mercy Health System.
Where are the PET/CT scanners located?
In Ann Arbor at the Reichert Health Center, the PET/CT scanner is located near the Ambulatory Surgery Facility (ASF). Please proceed to the Reichert Health Center MRI/CT, Suite 1015Q.
At the Brighton Health Center (formerly known as Woodland Health Center or Avant Imaging), the PET/CT scanner is located near the Radiology Department.
How often are PET/CT services available?
Currently, PET/CT scans are available two and a half days per week in Ann Arbor and ½ day at the Brighton Health Center.
What if I have portable oxygen, need a wheelchair or will be transported on a stretcher?
The PET/CT mobile scanner can accommodate patients who have portable oxygen canisters, need wheelchairs or arrive on stretchers. Please inform the Central Scheduling staff of your special needs when your appointment is made. If you need special assistance, your appointment will be scheduled at a time when there is adequate staff to assist you.
What if I am unable to keep my appointment?
It is very important to let us know if you are unable to keep your appointment.A very costly tracer is ordered for your PET/CT scan that is specially calibrated and cannot be used for another patient. If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, a 24 hour notice is preferred.
Until the day of your appointment:
If you are scheduled at St. Joseph Mercy Brighton, please call 810-844-7050 or toll-free 866-522-8268 Monday - Friday, 7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
If you are scheduled at Reichert Health Center MRI/CT, please call 734-712-1313 or toll- free 800-396-1313 Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
The day before your appointment or the day of your procedure:
Please call 734-712-7130 or toll-free 855-SJPET4U (855-757-3848) anytime 24 hours, 7 days per week.
How do I prepare for a PET/CT?
On the day BEFORE your appointment:
Do not eat foods high in carbohydrates. These foods include potatoes, pasta, rice, breads, pretzels, cookies, candy, soda pop, alcoholic beverages, fruit and fruit juices. Do eat meat, eggs and green vegetables or other foods that are low in starch and high in protein. It is best to drink plenty of water the day before your appointment.
If you are a diabetic patient and have questions about your preparation or medications, please call toll-free 855-SJPET4U (855-757-3848). To provide the best possible scan, our goal is to have you blood sugar between 71-200 mg/dl with below 150 mg/dl being optimal. Regular and long-acting insulin should not be taken within 2 hours of your arrival timee.
On the Day of your appointment:
Do not have anything to eat or drink except water during the 5 hours before your appointment. This includes chewing gum, hard candy, breath mints and tobacco products. Do not participate in strenuous exercise for 24 hours prior to your procedure. It is important to be well-hydrated. Beginning two hours prior to your procedure, you will need to drink plenty of water. We suggest you drink 24-32 ounces (3-4 eight ounce glasses) of water if possible. You may go to the restroom as needed.
Should I take my medications the day of the procedure?
You can take medications prescribed by your physician the day of the scan. If possible, patients taking Furosemide (Lasix) should discontinue this medication 6 hours prior to your arrival time and resume the prescribed medication after your appointment. Medications that should not be taken on an empty stomach should wait to be taken after your procedure if possible. Please consult with your physician if you have questions.
How should I dress for my procedure?
Do I need to bring anything to my appointment?
Dress comfortably in layers to stay warm as some scanner rooms are cool. Avoid large buttons and other metal objects on your clothing. Generally, you will not have to change out of your clothes for the procedure. Remove jewelry, including body piercing jewelry, before arriving for your scan.
Bring your medical insurance card(s) and personal identification (driver’s license or photo ID) along with your physician order.
Do I need to bring previous images and reports from other imaging procedures?
If you had a previous CT, MRI or Ultrasound procedure performed at a facility other than Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, please bring your most recent images (preferably on DICOM CD) and the report(s) along with you to your PET/CT appointment. Please request this information from the facility as soon as possible, as it may take a few days for it to be available for you. The physician reading your PET/CT scan will use your previous images for comparison purposes.
What Should I Expect During My PET/CT Scan?
Please arrive on time for your appointment to allow time for preparation for your scan. When you arrive, our staff will check your blood sugar. If your blood sugar is high (about 200 mg/dl), a radiologist will review your history and may advise rescheduling your procedure.
You will be given oral contrast to drink during the next 30-40 minutes. This allows the radiologist to better visualize your anatomy. Our staff will ask some questions about your medical history and start an IV and inject the FDG tracer. The IV will be removed once the injection is complete. There are no side effects to the injection. You will sit or lie comfortably for 45-90 minutes after the IV is finished. You may be asked to use the restroom. Next, you will be taken to the scanner.
How long does a PET/CT scan take?
It takes approximately 30-45 minutes for the scan itself, the entire procedure will take approximately 2-3 hours, so please allow plenty to time.
Are there any special instructions after my PET/CT scan?
You can eat and drink as you wish. You may resume taking your prescribed medication and your normal activities. Please inform your technologist if you are planning air travel or border-crossing within 24 hours of your PET/CT scan.
When will I receive my report?
A radiologist will interpret the images and a report will sent to the physician who ordered your procedure. Please follow up with your physician’s office on when and how you will receive the results of your PET/CT procedure.
If you have questions regarding the procedure your physician has ordered, please call (734) 712-7130 or toll-free 855-SJPET4U (855-757-3848) anytime Sunday through Saturday, to be connected with specialized staff who can answer your questions.