Our Services

Imaging Services (Radiology)

PET Scan

Positron Emission Tomography is a non-invasive procedure used to monitor important body functions. It helps physicians look for diseases in the body and evaluate how well organs and tissues are working.

PET scans involve a special camera that detects energy coming from a radioactive substance, called a tracer. Although the tracers are radioactive, the dosage is small.

Gritman Medical Center also offers PET/CT scans which allow the information from two different studies to be interpreted on one image, leading to more precise information and accurate diagnoses.

Why PET is used

PET and PET/CT scans are performed to:

  • Detect cancer
  • Determine whether a cancer has spread in the body
  • Assess the effectiveness of a treatment plan, such as cancer therapy
  • Determine if a cancer has returned after treatment
  • Evaluate brain abnormalities, such as tumors, memory disorders and seizures and other central nervous system disorders

Preparing for the exam

A PET scan is usually done on an outpatient basis. Your doctor will give you detailed instructions on how to prepare for your scan. Before undergoing the scan, be sure to tell your doctor about any prescription and over-the-counter medications you're taking, as well as any vitamins and herbal supplements. If you're taking certain medications or have certain diseases, such as diabetes, you'll receive specific instructions before your scan.

A general rule is to not eat anything for several hours before the scan. Wear comfortable clothes to your appointment. You may be asked to change into a hospital gown for the test.

If you're pregnant or think you might be pregnant, tell your doctor before undergoing a PET scan. The radioactive substance used during this procedure may expose the fetus to radiation. If you're breast-feeding your baby, tell your doctor. An infant can be exposed to radiation through your breast milk.


The amount of radiation used in a PET scan is relatively low, about the same amount of radiation in most CT scans.