Positron Emission Tomography/CT (PET/CT) Scan
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Positron Emission Tomography/CT (PET/CT) scans can effectively identify many of the most common cancers, heart diseases and nerve diseases before they can be seen on other tests. 

PET/CT may enable doctors to:

  • See tiny tumors and allow for an early diagnosis
  • Determine how far cancer, heart and neurological diseases have progressed
  • Identify diseased tissue, cancerous tissue and scar tissue
  • Avoid performing more-invasive exams or surgeries
  • Assess or "stage" cancer prior to surgeries or treatment
  • Determine the effectiveness of a therapy

Diseases Treated

PET/CT scans are particularly useful for diagnosing and treating a range of diseases and conditions, including:

  • Many types of cancer, such as:
    • Breast cancer
    • Colorectal cancer
    • Head and neck cancer
    • Esophageal cancer
    • Lung cancer
    • Lymphoma
    • Melanoma
    • Ovarian cancer
    • Pancreatic cancer
    • Tumors of the muscles and bones
    • Certain cardiology or heart conditions
    • Various neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, stroke and epilepsy 

PET/CT Locations

PET/CT imaging services are offered at these locations:

    DMC PET Center at Children's Hospital (performs adult and pediatric PET/CT scans)
    3901 Beaubien Blvd.
    Detroit, MI 48201

    DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital
    1 William Carls Drive
    Commerce, MI 48382

Learn more about PET/CT

Learn more about PET/CT:

How Does PET/CT Work?

PET/CT is a scan that provides information about the body’s chemistry that is not available with other imaging technologies such as CT or MRI. PET/CT uses variations in the metabolism rates of cells to show physicians the difference between healthy tissue and diseased tissue, cancerous tissue and scar tissue. Since these changes in the way cells function often occur before a physical change can be found, PET/CT may help your doctor make an earlier diagnosis. This can result in faster, more effective treatment and may help to avoid other exams or surgeries. 

The Day of Your Exam

 Do not eat six hours prior to the exam, but you may drink water and take your medication. If you are diabetic, please eat a light breakfast and take your insulin.
Wear comfortable clothing. Your exam may require you to change into a hospital gown. Please plan to spend two to three hours with us for the entire procedure. Please arrive promptly at your appointment time. We allow for 30 minutes of preparation time before the scan begins.

Bring with you:
  • Insurance card(s)
  • Referral or authorization forms
  • Picture identification
  • Prescription from your doctor
  • Films that may pertain to your condition taken at an earlier date or at another facility

Your doctor will give you information about what you must do prior to your exam. When you arrive for your exam, your health history will be reviewed. Then a small amount of FDG, a radioactive sugar tracer, will be injected into your hand or forearm intravenously (through an IV). FDG has no known side effects and leaves your body when you urinate.

It takes 45 to 60 minutes for the FDG tracer to concentrate in the tissue so a proper scan can be made. You will rest quietly white the FDG takes effect. In some cases a bladder catheter may be inserted.

Next, you will be positioned on a comfortable table that moves slowly through the PET/CT scanner. The system has spacious, well-lit openings on both ends.

The exam consists of a series of imaging sequences with each one taking several minutes. At the beginning of each sequence, there will be a thumping sound. To avoid blurred images, you will need to remain still during the scan. The technologists will leave the room during the scan, but will be within voice and visual contact. To help you relax, you may listen to music or use ear plugs.

Questions and Answers

Will my insurance cover PET/CT?

Medicare and most private insurances reimburse for many types of PET/CT scans. Some insurances do not cover the procedure. In cases where your insurance company requires prior authorization, our staff will contact them before your appointment.

How will I get the results of my scan?

A trained radiologist experienced in reading the PET/CT images will provide your doctor with a diagnosis, usually within 24 to 48 hours.

How is a PET/CT scan scheduled?

Your doctor’s office will schedule your appointment. Our staff will contact you to confirm the appointment and review the instructions you received from your doctor.

What if I need to change my appointment?

Please provide 24 hours notice by calling 1-866-DMC-PET1 (1-866-362-7381) if you are unable to keep your appointment. The special FDG tracer must be ordered 24 hours in advance for your scan. 

For more information about DMC PET/CT services or to schedule an appointment, call 1-866-DMC-PET (1-866-362-7381).