Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a molecular imaging method that uses small amounts of radioactive material called radiotracers to detect molecular activity in the body. PET scans help doctors evaluate how well organs and tissues are working and diagnose many health conditions, including cancers, heart disease, neurological and other disorders.

Seacoast Region's Advanced Technology Leader

As part of our advanced diagnostic technology services, Portsmouth Regional Hospital offers PET imaging and merges PET and CT images for even greater detail and accuracy. Combined PET/CT scanning offers the highest standard of care for diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of cancer by capturing images of how the body's metabolism changes as it deals with actively growing cancer cells.

How You Benefit

PET/CT scans provide extremely detailed high-resolution images, leading to more accurate diagnoses and sometimes avoiding the need for exploratory surgery. By identifying biochemical changes in the body at the cellular level, PET/CT imaging can often detect disease before it's evident with other imaging methods. With the combined scanning technology, you can be assured your doctors are basing your care decisions on the most accurate information available.

The Radiation Right safety program at Portsmouth Regional Hospital, where we adhere to nationally approved safety protocols that prevent accidental or excessive exposure, ensures you receive the lowest effective dose of radiation.

What to Expect

A certified nuclear technologist will give you a radioactive substance intravenously. Once the substance has been absorbed, the scan can take place. The PET scanning machine detects and records the energy levels from the injected substance. Images are viewed on a computer monitor.

You may be asked to perform specific tasks before or during the test. For example, during a heart PET scan, you may be asked to walk on a treadmill. The scan process lasts from one to two hours.

Learn more about PET scans in our online Health Library.

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