Department of Nuclear Sciences

DEPARTMENT OF NUCLEAR SCIENCES

Nuclear science is the study of the atomic world. The word ‘nuclear’ in nuclear science means ‘of or relating to or constituting the nucleus of an atom’. An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter that has the properties of a chemical element. All the world including us in made entirely of atom

Capitol Hospital has inaugurated the department of nuclear sciences with the aim of appreciating and interpreting the human body at an atomic level.

PET-CT SCANNER 

Capitol Hospital should get a gold star in taking another step forward in their aim to make India especially Punjab cancer-free and healthy.

Always operating on their policy of patient first, they have added another milestone in their extraordinary journey by inaugarating a department of nuclear sciences and  integrating the most advanced PET CT scanner, which helps in providing the accurate staging of cancer.

Cancer treatment is influenced heavily by the fact that in which stage it is detected, and that’s where the PET CT scanner comes handy. Over the recent years, imaging (PET-CT) has been widely used by the oncologists worldwide due to its higher sensitivity and specificity of staging which when compared to conventional imaging modalities such as CT or MRI is no longer at par.

It also helps determine which patient can get a metastatic relapse and also helps in predicting how the treatment will benefit the patient.

Description

PET is a nuclear medicine medical imaging technique that produces a 3-D image of functional processes in the human body. A PET scan uses a small amount of a radioactive drug, or a tracer, to show differences between a healthy tissue and a diseased tissue. The most commonly used tracer is called FDG (fluorodeoxyglucose), so the test is sometimes called an FDG-PET scan. Before the PET scan is done, a small amount of FDG is injected into the patient. Because cancer grows at a faster rate as compared to a healthy tissue, cancer cells absorb more of the FDG which is given. The PET scanner detects the radiation given off by the FDG and based on it produces color-coded images of the body that show both normal and cancerous tissue.

Currently, many PET scanners also include a conventional computed tomography (CT) scanner. This allows images of both anatomy (CT) and function (PET) to be taken during the same examination, which helps in getting an accurate picture.

Example of uses: PET scans can be used to view, monitor, or diagnose the following

  • tumors
  • blood flow to the heart
  • brain disorders

Preparation

Your doctor will give you detailed instructions on how to prepare for your scan. Patient history influences this decision. A general norm which is followed is to not eat anything for at least 6 -7 hours before the scan. You will be encouraged to drink water and wear comfortable clothes.

During the Exam

A nurse or technologist will take you to the room allocated where you will receive an intravenous (IV) injection of the radioactive drug. Sometimes, you will be asked to inhale the drug instead of the injection. Then you would wait 30 to 90 minutes for the drug to travel throughout your body and accumulate in the tissues that are to be studied. During this time, you will rest quietly and avoid movement on your part. Don’t worry, you won’t be able to feel the drug in your body.

The PET scanner is a large machine with a hole in its middle. It looks like a donut with a table in its middle. You will lie on the table and then the table will slide into the machine. You will be asked to remain still during the scan and not move.

Time Required

30 to 45 minutes.

Space During Exam

You will lie on a narrow table that slides into a circular opening of the PET scanner. The size of the opening is about 27 to 30 inches. How much space you feel you have around you will depend on your body size and the scanner which is being used. If you feel any anxiety over being in enclosed spaces, let your doctor know so as the appropriate action can be taken.

Benefits

  • The functional information obtained by a PET scan is unique and unavailable using other types of imaging. That’s what makes it unique.
  • For many diseases, PET provides the most useful information required to make a diagnosis and determine the most appropriate treatment.

Risks

Although a radioactive tracer is used during a PET scan, the amount of radiation that you are exposed to is low and it is short-lived. It doesn’t have any long-termeffects. It is not enough to affect the normal body processes. However, there are risks due to the tracer:

  • The radioactive substance may expose radiation to the fetus of a pregnant woman or to the infant of a woman who is breastfeeding. If you are pregnant or nursing, please discuss this with your doctor so that you or the baby are not at any risk.
  • There is a rare risk of a major allergic reaction to the tracer. Everything should be conveyed to your doctor.

Results

A radiologist, who is a physician who has specialized training in PET and other imaging tests, will analyze and interpret the results of your PET scan and would then send a report to your personal physician. It usually takes a day or so to interpretthe report, and then deliver the results. Contact your personal physician for information on the results of your exam.

 

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