Positron emission tomography, also called a PET scan, is a nuclear medicine exam that produces a three-dimensional image of the body’s functional processes. It is safe and painless, and uses a small amount of a radioactive drug to show differences between healthy and diseased tissue. The diagnostic images produced by PET are used to evaluate a variety of diseases.

At Imaging Healthcare Specialists (IHS), our PET system is integrated with a CT scanner. This combination enables the simultaneous evaluation of both anatomy and physiology of the body, helping to more accurately identify cancer, heart disease and brain disorders than previous generations of PET-only scanners.

To schedule your San Diego-area PET/CT, call Imaging Healthcare Specialists at (858) 658-6500.

PET/CT Exams offered at Imaging Healthcare Specialists:

  • FDG PET/CT: Skull-thigh examination is most widely used for staging and restaging most tumors; whole-body examination is most widely used for melanoma/sarcoma and infection.
  • Ga-68 Dotatate Neuroendocrine Tumor PET/CT: Skull-thigh examination is used for staging and restaging somatostatin receptor positive Neuroendocrine Tumors (NET).
  • Brain Scan with FDG PET/CT: Metabolic brain imaging for evaluation of dementia.
  • Brain Scan with Amyloid PET/CT: Detects beta-amyloid plaques which are present in Alzheimer’s disease.
  • PSMA Prostate PET/CT: Skull-thigh imaging for staging and restaging prostate cancer.
  • Fluciclovine F-18 (Axumin) Prostate PET/CT: Skull-thigh imaging for restaging previously treated prostate cancer (but not for initial staging).
  • Whole Body Bone with F-18 Sodium Flouride PET/CT: Highly sensitive for detecting osseous metastasis.
  • Cerianna Estrogen-Receptor Positive PET/CT: Skull-thigh imaging for evaluating estrogen receptor (ER) positive metastases.
PET scan in Hillcrest and Encinitas California

When preparing for a PET examination:

  • Generally, you should limit the amount of sugar and caffeine on the day before the scan
  • Please do not wear metal objects, including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures and hairpins
  • Please inform us if you are diabetic, and you will receive special instructions for your exam 

If you are pregnant, please tell your doctor or a patient representative before your test.

What to expect during a PET/CT:

Before your PET/CT, we will administer a test to measure your blood sugar levels. You will also receive a small injection of the radiotracer. It is required for a small amount of radiotracer to travel through your body for 45-60 minutes before imaging. During this time you will be asked to sit or lie quietly and avoid any movement and talking. 

Next, you will be moved into the PET/CT scanner. You will need to remain still while the scanner images your body. The CT portion of the exam will be done first, followed by the PET scan. The CT scan takes less than five minutes. The PET scan will take approximately 20-30 minutes. 

Once your scan is complete, you will be able to drive yourself home. You can resume normal eating and drinking unless otherwise instructed. Please drink plenty of fluids to help the radiotracer pass from your body. The images from your test will be reviewed by our radiologist and results will be sent to your referring physician. 

Additional instructions may be provided to you before or after your exam.

Contact Imaging Healthcare Specialists

To schedule your PET/CT scan, please call IHS at (858) 658-6500. We offer PET/CT at our Hillcrest, Encinitas, California locations.

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