PET (positron emission tomography) is performed using a PET scanner. It is state-of-the-art medical imaging of the whole body. Tracers such as fluorine-18 or gallium-68 are used. The method is safe, widely recognized and patients should not be afraid of the consequences related to the impact of ionizing radiation on the body.
Use of a compound of FDG-F18 allows to examine the degree of metabolism of the affected areas. PET with FDG is used primarily in differentiating and determining the nature and severity of neoplastic lesions. PET is also important in the diagnosis of other diseases, including inflammatory diseases, metabolic diseases, or diseases of the central nervous system. The isotope fluorine-18 decays quickly, its half-life, meaning the time required for a radioactive substance to lose 50% of its activity through decay, is 110 minutes. Therefore, exposure of the patient and his vicinity to radiation is small.
The only contraindication to PET-MRI is a pregnancy. Consequently, female patients of reproductive age (ie. from menarche to the year following the last menstrual period) are invited to take a pregnancy test (which is to buy at the pharmacy) one day prior to the test and show test results in the laboratory on the day of the study. It is necessary to also sign a statement that the patient is not pregnant. In the case of breastfeeding, it is recommended a break in feeding for 24 hours following a radiotracer.
Before PET-MRI the patient fasts for more than 4 hours, does not drink coffee for 12 hours prior to the test. Before the examination, the patient does not exercise intensely or perform hard physical labor, does not not smoke, chew gum or eat sugary liquids. Blood sugar levels of patients with diabetes should be normalized. Drinking about 0.5 liters of still mineral water is suggested before the test.
FDG-F18 tag is given intravenously. After the injection, the patient is placed in a reclining position in a darkened room for an hour. It is the time required for a body to absorb the radiotracer.
After the test, the patient is obliged to leave the PET-MRI laboratory and go home directly.