When the doctors at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital want to see how your organs are functioning, they perform a unique imaging test called a positron emission tomography (PET) scan. A PET scan can evaluate important body functions and allows doctors to evaluate a treatment’s effectiveness. The test is used to detect cancer and problems with the brain, heart and central nervous system.
A PET scan uses small amounts of radioactive materials called radiotracers, which are either injected into a vein or swallowed. After the radiotracer accumulates in the area of the body to be examined, it emits gamma rays, which are measured by the PET scanner. This type of medical imaging lets doctors detect disease processes at the cellular level, which helps them provide a faster, more accurate diagnosis.
PET scans are non-invasive and painless, and are usually performed on an out-patient basis. Your doctor will give you detailed instructions on how to prepare for the scan, including how long you should refrain from eating and drinking before the test.