PET Scans

If your doctor has prescribed a PET scan, let the team at Banner Health assist with your tests and treatments. Learn more about PET scans from the experts.  

What Is a PET Scan?

A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a type of nuclear medicine technique that is used to inspect healthy vs unhealthy tissues in the body. PET scans can be combined with a CT scan to monitor disease to see if it has progressed or if the treatment is working on the cells. 

PET Scan vs CT Scan

PET scans are often confused with a computed tomography (CT) scan. The main difference between a CT scan vs a PET scan is that a PET scan uses radioactive tracers while a CT scan uses x-rays to take pictures. 

When Is a PET Scan Used?

Your doctor may prescribe a PET scan to see how your body is functioning (i.e. blood flow, oxygen flow, etc.). The scan can help better diagnose compared to other types of imaging or testing. Some of the main reasons a PET scan is used is to diagnose:

  • Cancer
  • Heart issues or heart disease
  • Brain issues

How to Prepare for a PET Scan

While there is not much to do to prepare for a PET scan, the experts at Banner Health can answer any questions before the test. Ensure you have talked to your doctor about any allergies, if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or if you fear enclosed spaces. Your doctor can inform you with more direction, but it is a good idea to stop eating at least 6 hours before a PET scan.

What to Expect from a PET Scan

PET scans may be performed at a Banner Health hospital, clinic, or at one of our Banner Imaging locations.

First, the radioactive tracers will need to be swallowed, inhaled or injected. These tracers allow for the gamma camera to pick up the gamma rays from the radioactive tracers, meaning the PET scan machine does not produce radiation. A PET scan occurs in a scanner where you must lie down with no movement. The test is painless, and the tracers should leave your body after 60 hours. Once the test is complete, your doctor can examine the results to see healthy tissue and organs compared to unhealthy tissue and organs.

How Long Does a PET Scan Take?

A PET scan typically takes about two hours.

Associated Risks

Since the radioactive tracer is a small amount, there are no known risk factors associated with a PET scan. Inform your doctor of any allergies, if you’re pregnant or if you are breastfeeding.

Trust the professionals at Banner Health to assist with your PET scan testing and treatment options.

Find an Imaging Location Near You

Whatever your need, your doctor can refer you to one of our conveniently located free-standing imaging centers or one of our hospitals.