PET Scan: FSA Eligibility
What is a PET scan?
A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a type of imaging test that uses a radioactive substance called a radioactive tracer to show how organs and tissues are working and look for disease in the body. The tracer is injected into and travels through the bloodstream, accumulating in the area of your body being examined. Energy in the form of gamma rays is given off and examined by cameras to create 3D pictures (Healthline).
Why would you need a PET scan?
Unlike other imaging techniques like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT), which just show the structure and anatomy of organs, PET scans can depict physiological processes within the body as well, such as rates of metabolism or levels of other chemical activity.
A PET scan can help reveal the size, shape, position, and function of organs. Thus this test is useful for checking brain function, seeing how far a cancer has spread, diagnosing heart problems and brain disorders, showing blood flow to the heart, and more.
What should you expect during a test?
For about 4 to 6 hours before the scan, do not eat anything. The PET scan itself should not cause pain and you will be asked to lie still during the test as too much movement can blur images. The duration of the test takes depends on what part of the body is being scanned and no recovery time post test is needed. Normal results mean that there were no areas in which the tracer was abnormally collected, signifying no problems in the size, shape, or position of an organ (Verywell Health).
What are some risks involved with a PET scan?
PET scans use short-lived tracers so the radiation from the test should be out of your body in about 2 to 10 hours. In some rare occasions, people may have an allergic reaction to the tracer material. Others may have pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site. It is also possible to have false results with a PET scan (Mayo Clinic).