PET CT Scan (Positron Emission Tomography) is a scanning procedure which involves the use of radioactive materials to evaluate normal and abnormal biological functions of the cells, organs and tissues in the body. In majority of the cases, these scans are used to detect and diagnose cancer. They also help to find out the stage of the cancer and whether the therapy that is being given to the patient is working or not.
A PET scanner is basically made up of a circular arrangement of detectors which pick up the pattern of radioactivity from the radiopharmaceutical in the body. A computer then assesses the patterns and creates 3D coloured pictures of the area which is being scanned. Since during this scan, the body is exposed to radiation from the radioactive drug as well as the X-Rays, there can be certain side effects. However, it is important to know that since the radiation in the radioactive tracer is very small and decays quickly, it does not make anyone feel unwell. The benefits of the scan outweigh the risks and hence there is no reason why one must not get it done.
Risks and side effects of PET CT Scan
- Pregnant women are advised not to get the PET CT Scan since there is a risk that the radiation may harm the baby.
- One of the potential side effects of PET CT Scan is bleeding, soreness and swelling which may develop at the injection site.
- In some of the cases, allergic reactions to the radiopharmaceutical may happen but this is extremely rare.