- Nuclear medicine examinations offer information that is unique—including details on both function and structure—and often unattainable using other imaging procedures.
- For many diseases, nuclear medicine scans yield the most useful information needed to make a diagnosis or to determine appropriate treatment, if any.
- Nuclear medicine is less expensive and may yield more precise information than exploratory surgery.
- By identifying changes in the body at the cellular level, PET imaging may detect the early onset of disease before it is evident on other imaging tests such as CT or MRI.
- For additional benefits of CT exams, see Computed Tomography (CT) at (www.RadiologyInfo.org/en/sitemap/modal-alias.cfm?modal=CT).
The benefits of a combined PET/CT scanner include:
- greater detail with a higher level of accuracy; because both scans are performed at one time without the patient having to change positions, there is less room for error.
- greater convenience for the patient who undergoes two exams (CT & PET) at one sitting, rather than at two different times.
- Because the doses of radiotracer administered are small, diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures result in low radiation exposure, acceptable for diagnostic exams. Thus, the radiation risk is very low compared with the potential benefits.
- Nuclear medicine diagnostic procedures have been used for more than five decades, and there are no known long-term adverse effects from such low-dose exposure.
- The risks of the treatment are always weighed against the potential benefits for nuclear medicine therapeutic procedures. You will be informed of all significant risks prior to the treatment and have an opportunity to ask questions.
- Allergic reactions to radiopharmaceuticals may occur but are extremely rare and are usually mild. Nevertheless, you should inform the nuclear medicine personnel of any allergies you may have or other problems that may have occurred during a previous nuclear medicine exam.
- Injection of the radiotracer may cause slight pain and redness which should rapidly resolve.
- Women should always inform their physician or radiology technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant or if they are breastfeeding. See the Safety page for more information about pregnancy, breastfeeding and nuclear medicine exams.
- For risks of CT exams, see Computed Tomography (CT) at (www.RadiologyInfo.org/en/sitemap/modal-alias.cfm?modal=CT).