After they make a diagnosis, your provider may use imaging tests such as a PET-CT scan to monitor your condition and guide your personalized treatment plan.

Imaging technologists can combine a positron emission tomography (PET) scan with a computed tomography (CT) scan to provide a more detailed image, called a PET-CT scan. They can take the scans at the same time. By combining these two imaging tests, your provider receives more detailed information and images, which leads to a better treatment plan.

At Baptist Health, you can expect a PET-CT scan experience that is:

  • High-quality. Our PET-CT scanning machines produce detailed images that providers rely on to form an accurate treatment plan. High-quality images lead to high-quality care.
  • Convenient. Choose from one of our many locations close to where you live.
  • Friendly. Our team can answer all your questions so you know what to expect. Board-certified radiologists and technologists guide you through the process and prioritize your comfort, safety and positive experience.

What is a PET-CT scan?

A PET scan shows your provider how your body is functioning while a CT scan shows your body’s structures.

A PET scan is a type of nuclear medicine imaging. It uses a radioactive substance called a tracer to highlight specific areas inside your body. Tracers can accumulate in tumors, areas of inflammation or spots with high levels of certain proteins. The tracer reveals how parts of your body, such as organs or tissues, are working.

A CT scan uses X-rays to create images of the structures inside your body, such as bones and tissues.

When performed together, a PET-CT scan gives your provider a detailed view of your body’s structure and how well it is functioning. Aside from injecting the tracer substance through an IV, patients should expect the process to be painless.

What is a PET-CT used to treat?

Care providers use PET-CT scans to monitor the treatment of many conditions, including:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Neurological disorders

For example, a provider may use a PET-CT scan to:

  • Assess a brain tumor or brain damage after stroke
  • Check if cancer has spread or returned
  • Evaluate the health of tissue or an organ
  • Monitor a condition or disease
  • See how someone’s body is responding to treatment

What can I expect at my PET-CT scan appointment?

When you first schedule your PET-CT scan appointment, the scheduling team will help you prepare. They’ll give you instructions, gather general health information and answer your questions. Be sure to tell them if you could be pregnant or are breastfeeding. In general, you can expect the following experience.

  • You will stop eating or drinking six hours before your test, including gum, candy or mints. You can usually take your daily medications with a small sip of water.

    Arrive to your appointment in loose, comfortable, warm clothing. Remove any metal or jewelry and leave it at home, as these can disrupt the imaging test. Our team also keeps blankets on hand to help make each patient comfortable during their PET-CT scan.

  • To start, your imaging technologist will prick your finger to check your glucose levels. As long as your levels are in the right range, they will inject you with the tracer by inserting an IV. Then, you’ll relax in a reclining chair for about an hour as the tracer moves throughout your body.

    Once the tracer has spread, you’re ready for the scan to begin. You’ll lie on a table that will go through the ring-shaped PET-CT machine. The machine isn’t very loud, though you may hear some constant background noise. The scan typically takes 25 to 45 minutes to complete.

  • When the technologist finishes your scan, you can go home. They will recommend you drink plenty of water to hydrate and help clear the radiotracer from your body. You’ll also receive instructions to stay away from people at risk from exposure to radioactivity, such as pregnant people and babies, for a few hours after the scan.

    You’ll get your results in 24 to 72 hours. Our board-certified radiologists will interpret your test results and send them to your provider. You can see them at the same time through The Baptist Health PineApp.

What are the risks or side effects of a PET-CT scan?

Your Baptist Health team will do everything possible to give you a comfortable and safe PET-CT scan. Aside from the needle prick during the IV injection, getting a PET-CT scan is painless. Serious discomfort or side effects are rare.

During the imaging test, you are exposed to a low dose of radioactivity, which is why you should avoid people who may be sensitive to radioactivity for a few hours afterward. People who are pregnant or breastfeeding, young children and babies may be vulnerable. However, most patients have no side effects from a PET-CT scan. Clinical experts believe the benefits of getting detailed health images outweigh the potential risks.

How do I get a PET-CT scan?

If your provider believes a PET-CT will better inform your care plan, they will prescribe this imaging test. Once your provider gives you a prescription, you can call Baptist Health Imaging to schedule your appointment.

How much does a PET-CT scan cost?

The cost of your PET-CT scan will depend on your insurance. After your provider prescribes a scan, our Preregistration and Authorization Department will confirm the price with you.

If your insurance does not cover a PET-CT scan, you can choose to self-pay. Our Central Pricing Office will work with you to arrange your payment schedule.

Schedule Your PET-CT Scan Today.

PET-CT scan locations

Baptist Health is here to support you through every stage of your health journey, beginning with getting your PET-CT Scan at any of our diagnostic imaging locations. Online appointment scheduling is available for a PET-CT Scan. Select a convenient location on the map to schedule.

Frequently Asked Questions about PET-CT scans

  • A PET-CT scan appointment can take around two hours in total, including preparation time. The scan itself takes 25 to 45 minutes, depending on the body part imaged and the purpose of the scan.

  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes you can easily move in. Dress warmly in layers for comfort. Because metal interferes with the images, do not wear any jewelry or metal accessories.

  • You will get your results in 24 to 72 hours. The fastest and easiest way to see your results is through the PineApp. Baptist Health’s app helps you easily manage your healthcare — including viewing PET-CT scan results — from any mobile device.

  • Yes, a PET-CT scan uses a radioactive tracer to highlight key areas and their function. However, the amount of radioactivity is low, and the benefits of the scan can positively inform your care.

  • You may experience brief discomfort when placing the IV for the tracer. The actual PET-CT scan is painless and noninvasive. While you lie comfortably on a table, it moves you into the PET-CT ring.

Proven Quality

Proven Quality

Baptist Health PET-CT scans produce clear, high-quality images your provider can use to tailor your care plan. We are accredited by the American College of Radiology, so our medical imaging staff have the needed experience and qualifications.

Schedule Your PET-CT Scan Today.

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