What is nuclear medicine diagnostics and where it is used?

Positron Emission Tomography - Computed Tomography (PET/CT) uses small amounts of radioactive materials called radiotracers or radiopharmaceuticals, a special camera and a computer tomograph to evaluate organ and tissue functions. By identifying changes at the cellular level, PET may detect the early onset of disease before other imaging tests can.

There are large number of different radio-pharmaceuticals which are used in nuclear medicine diagnostics, but there are two most often used:

FDG (fluoro-deoxiglucose)

PSMA (prostate membrane specific antigen)

How is PET/CT procedure organized?

  1. You have to apply for consultation by sending request for consultation and uploading your medical data throw file exchange server;

  2. We will help you upload your medical data, if necessary. We can help you to request your medical data from medical institution where investigation has been performed, too;

  3. Our radiation oncologist Dr. Maris Mezeckis will review your medical data and will give you advice about suitable investigation or recommend expert in particular field in case of very specific questions.  As soon consensus will be achieved we will forward your medical data to our partners to organize investigation.
  4. After arrival to diagnostic clinic radiographer will measure your height, weight, and blood sugar level. You will have an intravenous line placed in the vein of your arm or hand and you will be escorted to your room.
  5. At the beginning of the PET scan procedure, you will sit in a chair and receive an injection of a small amount of radioactive material in a vein in your arm. This will not make you feel differently at all.
  6. You will be asked to lie down for a period of time, usually about 30-60 minutes. During this time you will not be able to get up and walk around, talk to friends, or read. This allows the tracer to travel throughout your body while it is in a relaxed state. You will cover yourself with a provided blanket (you must not feel cold) and will be asked to drink approximately 1liter of water. If you need to use the bathroom, you can, but you must remain still for the first 20 minutes after the injection of the radio-pharmaceutical. Right before the PET/CT scanning (after 50-55 minutes) you must empty your bladder even if you have done it shortly before!
  7. You will be asked to lie down on a table which will move you through the PET/CT scanner. The machine has a larger opening than an MRI, and it does not make any sound. A PET/CT scan procedure takes about 20-40 minutes to complete.
  8. After the completion of the examination you will be asked to stay in reception area for at least 20 minutes. We invite you to continue drinking water in order to promote the excretion of the radio-pharmaceutical from your body. 

Things you should know about PET/ CT diagnostics:

  • absolutely safe, painless diagnostic method;
  • the procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis and without any surgical interventions;
  • identifies the tumor detecting changes in the metabolism and structure of organs and tissues;
  • allows to find lesions in asymptomatic stages;
  • allows to differentiate malignant neoplasms from benign ones;
  • at one scan of the whole body carries out the examination of all structures of an organism - internal organs, bone and muscle tissues, etc.