What is PET/CT?


PET/CT (Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography Imaging) combines the functional information from a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) exam with anatomical information from a Computed Tomography (CT) exam in one single exam.

A PET scan detects changes in cellular function- specifically, how your cells are utilizing nutrients like sugar and oxygen. Since these functional changes take place before physical changes occur, PET can provide information that enables your physician to make an early diagnosis.

The advantage of CT is its ability to take cross sectional images of your body. These are combined with the information from the PET scan to provide more anatomic details of the metabolic changes in your body.

The PET exam pinpoints metabolic activity in cells and the CT exam provides an anatomical reference. When these two scans are fused together, your physician can view metabolic changes in the proper anatomical context of your body.

Why is this important?

A PET/CT can be used to more accurately diagnose and locate cancers with increased patient comfort and a reduced number of scanning sessions. In addition, this hybrid technology offers better imaging data.


Will my insurance cover this procedure?

The procedure is covered by most private insurance plans and Medicare.


How effective are PET/CT scans?


Clinical research has shown that in comparison to a PET scan alone, PET/CT technology provides new information that can alter a patient's treatment plan to better target the cancer in about one-third of the cases. In one example, the PET/CT scan of a lung cancer patient revealed not only the original tumor on the lung - which a previous CT scan had found - but an additional tumor the CT missed: a small, early stage lesion in the neck. Based on the CT alone, the physician would have recommended surgery, but the additional tumor found by PET/CT indicated that the cancer had spread and was inoperable. Based on this information, the physician proceeded with radiation therapy, giving the patient a better chance of survival.

Can a PET/CT scan be used for more than a cancer diagnosis?


While a PET/CT scan is primarily used in cancer treatment, it also has applications in cardiology and brain imaging. This advanced technology will also help physicians better understand the working of heart disease and such neurological disorders as epilepsy and Parkinson's disease.


How do I get more information?


You can download this brochure or call your physician for answers to your questions. To schedule an appointment, have your physician’s office make a referral to 618-222-4639.


Are you already scheduled for a PET/CT Exam?


The referring physician may have provided you with instructions on how to prepare for your PET/CT exam.  You can also find preparation instructions, parking map and other information by downloading this brochure. If you are unable to make your appointment, please call 618-222-4639.