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Performance of Brain PET Scan and its risk

How is a Brain PET scan performed?

The patient is brought to the procedure room & is seated in a chair. The technician inserts an intravenous catheter (IV) in their arm. A special dye with the radioactive tracers is injected into the veins through the IV tube. The patient’s body requires time to absorb those tracers as the blood flows through the brain, so they would wait before the scan starts. This usually takes an hour.

Next, we undergo the scan. This includes lying on some narrow table attached to the PET machine which appears like some massive toilet paper roll. The table slowly and smoothly glides inside the machine so that the scan could be done.

 The patient keeps lying during the scan. The scan records the activities of a brain as they occur. These could be recorded as a still or a video. Tracers are concentrated in the parts of increased blood flow.

Patients are made to exit the machine once the desired images are stored in the computer. This is the end of the test.

What to do post a Brain PET CT Scan?

It is good to drink plenty of fluid posts the test for flushing the tracers of our system. Usually, all tracers exit our body after 2 days. A specialist who is trained in reading the PET Scan interprets the images & shares the update with our doctor. The doctor reads the results and shares and explains it to the patient.

Risks of Brain PET Scan

While the scan uses radioactive tracers, the exposure is least. It is too low to affect any normal course of our body.

The risks of this test are least as compared to its benefits. However, radiations are believed to be unsafe for a fetus, hence pregnant women or nursing women should not undergo the Brain PET scan or any other PET Scan. Other risks also include feeling uncomfortable if a patient is claustrophobic or anxious regarding needles.