Now operating 4 days a week.
Our new Siemens Biograph mCT S64 PET/CT Scanner
Taking bookings now
Cost of PET/CT scan
WPH bulk bills all Medicare eligible PET/CT scans, but this requires a referral by a specialist doctor. A referral received from a general practitioner or another non-specialist health care provider will incur a payment. Some cancers and inflammatory disorders are not covered by a Medicare rebate, even if referred by a specialist, and these referrals will also incur a payment. For further clarification on expected costs associated with your examination, please call one of our friendly WPH staff.
44 Eleanor Street, Footscray
PET Reception (03) 9304 7360
PET Fax (03) 9304 7361
What is a PET/CT Scan
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a painless, non-invasive scan which aids doctors in the:
– monitoring of response to therapy
– surveillance of disease accurately
In PET, we use a positron-emitting radionuclide (radioactive tag) attached to a pharmaceutical, to detect small changes to a cell’s metabolism which can indicate infection, inflammation or a cancerous process. It is very sensitive and often can pick up changes to cells earlier than other imaging modalities. While PET is very useful for evaluating function or physiology, it is not so good for structure or anatomy. For this reason, in recent years, PET has been combined with a low-dose CT to give precise anatomical detail such as size, shape and location of structures. This helps the doctor identify how active any disease is at a precise location.
How does PET work?
In PET, radioactive tracers are administered intravenously (through a vein): the tracer is then taken up by the cells in your body over a period of time. For FDG-PET scans (the most common type of PET scan), the radioactive glucose (a simple sugar) moves into all cells . The FDG accumulated is proportional to the amount of glucose used, ie. if there is an area in the body which is using an increased amount of sugar compared to the surrounding cells, over time, the radioactive tag attached to the sugar accumulating in that area will appear brighter and brighter than the surrounding tissue on your images. FDG is a non-specific tracer, that is, it does not detect a specific cancer, or even just cancer, therefore it is important to follow the preparation instructions, give a thorough history to the nuclear medicine technologists (NMTs) and have specially-trained Nuclear Medicine Physicians available to interpret and report on your images.
The PET scanner itself is a ring-like detector that picks up the radioactive tag being emitted from your body. It is a very quiet machine and the technologists can see and hear you at all times. The scan will take approximately 10-30 minutes, depending on the indication your doctor has sent you for. It is important to remain still during the imaging phase.
What will happen during my PET/CT scan?
When you arrive for you appointment a staff member will take a brief history, explain the procedure and allow you to discuss any questions or concerns. They will sample your blood glucose level after insertion of an intravenous cannula (a small needle) into your arm. The radioactive tracer will be administered and a resting period in a private room will follow for 30-90min. We may ask you to drink a litre of water during this time. If we are not specifically imaging your brain or eyes, then we have personal DVD players in each room: you can bring a favourite DVD or CD to watch/listen to, or we have a small library you can choose from.
It is very important that during this time your body is warm, your muscles are relaxed and to not speak or use mobile devices. Following the resting period you will be asked to empty your bladder and then proceed to the scanning room. You will be asked to lie down on the scanning bed. It is important that you let us know how we can make you most comfortable so that you are best able to lie still for the scan. Movement may require re-scanning of any ‘blurred’ areas. Sometimes, the doctors will ask the NMTs to perform an additional image after a drug has been given to you, or using special software to give us more information. For this reason it is best to allow over 2 hours for a PET scan appointment.
Family and friends can accompany you for your scan, however we will ask them to wait in reception after we administer the radioactive tracer to avoid an unnecessary radiation dose. FDG has a very short half-life (110 mins), so much of it will have decayed before you leave. However, drinking more and going to the toilet often will help flush it from your system sooner.
Preparation for my PET Scan
- Fasting – No eating or drinking anything other than plain water for 6 hours prior to scan. We recommend drinking at least 3 cups of plain water prior to your appointment. Empty your bladder as per normal
- Clothing -Dress comfortably and warmly. Avoid metallic zippers, buttons, underwire bras if possible or we can provide gowns and pants. If there is jewellery in the field of view we are scanning, you may be asked to remove it
- Medication -Take all medications that you need, without food before scan. Bring any pain relief that you would normally use. It is often helpful to bring a list of your medications with you
- Exercise restrictions – No strenuous exercise 24 hours prior to scan
- Previous Films – Bring a copy of your most recent relevant CT/MRI/PET/Ultrasound and reports if you have them
- Diabetic patients -Please contact the department for specific fasting and medication instructions
- If you are Claustrophobic – please contact the department, you may require sedation and a family member or friend will need to escort you home
- Pregnant or Breast feeding patients – please contact department prior to scan
- You must be able to lie down relatively flat on the scanner for 15-30 minutes
- Allow 2-3 hours for your scan
Travelling to WPH
The PET Centre is located on the Ground Floor of 44 Eleanor Street