Position Emission Tomography-Computerized Tomography (PET-CT)
PET is cutting-edge nuclear medicine technology, the operating principle of which is based on the fact that cancer cells consume more glucose than normal cells. To be more specific, a radioactive substance (F-18) that emits positrons is attached to glucose molecules, which are then injected into the body for cancer cells to consume. A PET scanner is then used to detect and locate the cancer cells.
- Compared with CT and MRI, which are useful for determining the shapes and sizes of organs and lesions, PET scans present advantages in that malignant tumors, no matter how small, can be detected more quickly and accurately because it detects cancer cells based on their metabolic rate or activity level. Also, it can be run on the entire body, making it more effective in detecting cancer in its early stages and assessing metastasis, recurrence after treatment, and the effectiveness of treatment.
- PET-CT is a state-of-the-art technology that overcomes the limitations of PET, which cannot be used to accurately pinpoint the anatomic location of the lesion compared to CT and MRI scans. PET images are placed over CT images in a superimposed manner for improved accuracy in determining the size and location of the lesion found in a PET scan.
- The PET-CT scanner used at CNUH is the latest model from the world-renowned GE Medical that boasts excellent image quality and a 16-slice CT scanner.
Applications of PET-CT
Various malignant tumors (cancer)
Early diagnosis of various solid tumors and assessment of the progression and scope of tumor growth, malignancy of cancer, distant metastasis of tumor, the patient’s response to cancer treatment, recurrence of cancer, and site discrimination
Assessment of epilepsy, dementia (Alzheimer’s disease), cerebral palsy, psychiatric disorders (depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, etc.), and cerebrovascular disease
Assessment of myocardial infarction and ischemic heart disease, and myocardial viability
Health Insurance Coverage
PET-CT scans are partially covered by the national health coverage, as of June 18, 2006 to ease the financial burden on patients.
The Scope of Health Insurance Coverage
- Various malignant tumors (solid cancer)
Initial diagnosis, cancer staging, postoperative follow-up examination, assessment of effectiveness of chemotherapy/radiation therapy. follow-up examination after chemotherapy/radiation therapy, radiation therapy planning, and determination of recurrence
- Partial epilepsy
Before and after surgery
- Assessment of myocardial viability after ischemic heart disease
Before and after surgery/procedure
- For information on the coverage and scope of health insurance, please refer to [Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service Notification No. 2015-196].
PET-CT Scan Request and Procedure (Takes Approx. 2 Hours)
- If you wish to receive a PET-CT scan, you must speak to your doctor first and obtain his/her opinion on the matter.
- If you are an employee of another hospital trying to book a PET-CT scan on behalf of one of your patients, call the Department of Nuclear Medicine or the Examination Request Center. Please send the patient’s personal information and prior scans, which will help us read the PET-CT scans more effectively.
- If you wish to receive a PET-CT scan for health or cancer screening, contact the Health Screening Center.
Make an appointment for a PET/CT scan and pay the bill (obtain information on the precautions from the PET-CT Center)
Pre-scanning procedure and stability (speak to a doctor if necessary)
Injection and stability for at least 50 min.
PET-CT scan (20~30 min.)
Receive the PET-CT scan results from the doctor in charge
Matters Requiring Attention
After making an appointment for a PET-CT scan, be sure to receive the necessary information at the reception desk of the Department of Nuclear Medicine.
- It takes around 2 hours to complete the procedure (from prep work to actual completion of the scanning process).
Please arrive in the PET-CT Lab at least 30 minutes before your appointment.
- You must fast after eating dinner the day before your appointment.
(You can still drink sugar-free water. Try to drink as much water as possible.)
- Do not exercise, starting the day before the appointment. Avoid activities that involve the use of muscles incl. talking a lot and chewing gum.
- Let us know in advance if you have diabetes.
Failure to adjust the glucose level to normal may lead to delays or cancellation.
- If you are planning to undergo any other scans that involve the use of a contrast medium (CT, MRI, and fluoroscopy), make sure to schedule the PET-CT scan at least two days before or after the examination.
Also, inform the person who is making the appointment for a PET-CT scan for you of this.
- Keep taking the mediations you have been prescribed.
(Inform the person making the appointment to receive any necessary instructions.)
- The bladder must be emptied right before the PET-CT scan.
It may be necessary to insert a tube into the bladder to drain out the urine. If this is the case, additional charges will apply.
- If you wish to reschedule or cancel your appointment for a PET-CT scan, make sure to contact the PET-CT Center until the day before your appointment date.