PET/CT Imaging Services

Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center
Saint Elizabeth Campus

1431 North Claremont Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
877.688.6122
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Patients at Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center now receive non-invasive, whole-body PET/CT scans. The new PET/CT scanner is a combination of PET (positron emission tomography) and CT (computed tomography) imaging techniques within a single machine.

The new scanner provides unprecedented images that allow physicians to more accurately diagnose and stage cancer, acquire multiple dimensions of the heart, or diagnose Alzheimer's disease. The new scanner will help a wide variety of patients:

Oncology

  • Permits non-invasive diagnosis and staging of cancer, and monitors patients' response to treatment
  • The combined information provided by the scanner accomplishes two things:
    • Reveals both metabolic activity and anatomical location
    • Results in customized radiation fields for each patient so that radiation treatment reaches cancer cells only and does not damage healthy tissue

Cardiology

  • Blockages are easily seen in coronary vessels
  • Can capture multiple dimensions of the heart in a few seconds

Neurology

  • Very effective imaging for evaluating patients with acute stroke
  • Allows for diagnosis of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease

What are PET and CT Scans?

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computed Tomography (CT) are imaging tools commonly used in detecting, diagnosing, and staging various types of disease, including cancer. The PET/CT scanner combines two powerful imaging tools into one exam to enable physicians to more accurately detect tumors and pinpoint their precise location in the body. PET reveals the body's metabolic activity including both normal and abnormal tissue activity (tumors), while CT reveals the body's detailed anatomic structure. Patient comfort is increased with the new scanner as well. Using this system, a PET/CT scan can be performed in minutes as an outpatient procedure. Also, the scanner's large opening alleviates the sense of claustrophobia some patients experience.

Benefits

  • Fast, straightforward and painless
  • Non-invasive
  • Provides a complete picture of what is happening in your body
  • May eliminate the need for ineffective or unnecessary surgeries and treatments
  • May significantly reduce medical costs, personal discomfort and potential complications

What to Expect at your Visit

Before the Examination - You will receive a small injection of FDG, a radioactive tracer, which is perfectly safe and will distribute throughout your body as you rest for 60-90 minutes. During your examination, the PET scanner detects signals from the radioactive tracer as it travels through your body. Because diseased cells process the tracer more rapidly than healthy body tissues, the scanner will detect increased activity as potential areas of concern. Note: your physician or the imaging center can make any changes to your specific exam as needed.

During the Examination - You will lie on the scanning bed and our technologist will instruct you and keep you informed during the entire exam. Because movement of the body while the pictures are being taken requires the scan to be repeated, it is very important to remain as still as possible and to breathe normally, unless told otherwise. You may be required to keep your arms above your head during the exam, which should take about 30 minutes. The bed will move slowly through the PET•CT scanner opening, first taking a CT scan, followed by a PET scan. You will not feel anything, and once the scan is complete, you can relax, have a drink or eat while the technologist processes the images.

After the Examination - After you are discharged from the imaging center, you may drive and resume normal activities immediately, unless you have received sedation. Over the next few hours, the small amount of radioactive tracer administered to you will break down and leave your body naturally through your bladder. To help clear this tracer more rapidly, drink as much fluid as possible for the remainder of the day and empty your bladder frequently, as long as this does not affect any other instructions given by your doctor. A trained physician will interpret the images produced by your PET/CT scan and will report the final results to your referring physician, usually within 24 hours.

Patient Guidelines

Preparing for your PET/CT examination

  • Do not eat or drink anything except water for 4-6 hours before your exam
  • Notify your physician if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or diabetic
  • Dress warmly and comfortably
  • Take any prescribed medication, unless instructed otherwise
  • Avoid rigorous activity for 24 hours before your exam

For more information or to make an appointment, call 877.688.6122.


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