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A PET CT scan guides doctors to check out various diseases present in your body. A special dye in the form of radioactive tracers is provided to patients through their veins or inhaling. It depends on which part of the body scanning takes place. The tissues or organs go on to absorb the tracer. A PET scan helps a doctor to detect how organs along with tissues are working in your body.

In regions of higher chemical activity tracers will accumulate which means that regions of the body have higher levels of radioactivity. On a PET scan these regions will emerge as bright spots. Being an outpatient procedure you can return back to your normal activities the same day.

Heart problems

A PET scan will showcase decreased blood flow to specific regions of your heart. The reason being healthy heart tissue would rake in more tracers and an unhealthy tissue contributes to decrease blood flow.

Different colours with varied degree of brightness will guide you about tissue functions providing vital inputs to the doctor on how to proceed ahead.

Is there any risk which is posed by a PET scan?

PET scan centres in Chennai suggest that exposure to tracer occurs, but impact of harmful radiation is on the smaller side. Since small amount of radiation is provided so any risk to your body is virtually ruled out. But still do discuss with your doctor about the possible risks of the same. Any risk which the scan provides is beneficial you can expect from the same.

The tracer is normally incorporated with glucose to which the tracer material is attached. This does make it a lot easy for the body to eliminate the tracers, even though if you are suffering from diabetes.

The manner by which a PET scan is undertaken?

Before scan takes place you are given tracers on to your veins and might be asked to drink a liquid. Sometimes it can be through a gas which you inhale. The body needs an hour to absorb the tracers so about an hour you wait for the scan to begin. The duration where the tracer takes time to absorb would depend on the specific region being scanned.

When you are waiting, limit your movement, relax and try to be as patient as possible. If brain scan is undertaken you need to stop watching TV, reading or movies.

The process of scan is hardly going to last around 45 minutes. There is a narrow table to which a PET scan machine is attached and you need to lie on the table. The machine replicates a giant letter O. This table will slowly proceed on to the machine by which scan is undertaken.

You are suggested to lie down still during the procedure of the scan. The technician is going to guide on when to remain still. For a few seconds you might be asked to hold your breath. Clicking noises and buzzing are part of the test.

With all the necessary changes undertaken you will be directed out of the machine. Then the test is completed.

The phase of preparation associated with a PET scan?

The doctor is going to provide you with a complete set of guidelines on how to prepare for a PET scan. Do discuss with your doctor about over the counter medicines or even herbal supplements if you are having.

Before a few days you would be asked to refrain from intense physical activity and this would be around 48 hours preceding the test.

The day before you would be advised to stick on to a low sugar low carb diet.  The beverages and food you need to avoid are rice, pasta, caffeine and even alcohol.

Hours before the test

In case if you have gone on to receive anaesthesia before the procedure you are asked not to drink or eat anything before the surgery. In case if you are having medications just sip in a few glasses of water. If anaesthesia is not provided then you should not have anything to eat or drink before 6 hours of the surgery. Do not munch on candy, mints or cough drops. Just drink water and any medications can be had as per recommendations of your doctor.

You could be asked to change on to a hospital gown. Since metal objects interfere with the results of the test you might be asked to remove any metal jewellery on your body. At the same time pacemakers and artificial hips could have impact on the results.

Just discuss with your health care provider if you are suffering from the following conditions

  • If you are suspecting pregnancy or planning to become pregnant in the days to come discuss with the doctor. The test may not be suitable for your baby
  • In case if you are breastfeeding you might have to pump and store breast milk 24 hours before the scan. The reason being after 24 hours of the scan you might not be able to breastfeed your baby
  • If you are suffering from diabetes you might be given specific instructions. If you fast before it can have considerable impact on your blood sugar levels. Just have a normal dose of insulin and opt for a light meal 4 hours before the scan is scheduled.

What generally happens after a scan?

Once the test is over you can continue with your day till the doctor has provided specific instructions. Since the radioactive material remains in the body for around 12 hours, it is suggested that you restrict contact with infants and pregnant woman at this point of time.

In order to flush out tracers from your system drink plenty of water. Mostly all tracers leave your body within a couple of days.

In a PET CT Chennai centre a trained specialist will interpret the images and convey information to your doctor. Within a couple of days the results are there for your doctor and in your follow up appointment the doctor would explain the results to you.