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CT Scan/PET & CT Scan Qutestion

Posts: 100
Joined: Mar 2004

I have a quick question. Do doctors order just PET scans anymore or are all PET Scans now really CT/PET Scans. The reason I ask is that my dad just supposedly had a PET/CT scan done and the esophagus lite up on the scan. So, the doctor wants to order a CT scan to see if there is anything there. Isn't a PET/CT scan both scans in one. I do not understand this. Either way, we are going to hopkins in two weeks to talk to a real expert. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Posts: 1048
Joined: Jan 2007

I can only tell you based on our own experience. My husband had 3 different tests...PET, ct , and MRI . They each tell a different part of the "story". The pet showed active uptake, the ct showed size, dimension and the mri showed proximity to blood vessels and is more sensitve than the ct. I hope this helps.

apache4's picture
Posts: 272
Joined: Jul 2007

Ditto, hopefulone. They are two different tests. They are administered differently and use different machines. For the CT one has to drink a nasty type drink and an IV is used to insert part of the contrast material. The PET scan there is a drink, but not such a big one and no IV needed. They also do a blood sugar test as I think that contrast can have an effect if you are diabetic. The PET scan takes quite a bit longer to do, also. Other then that, the previous answer gives the other differences. Also, for me, the CT scan was used every three months and I only had two PET's in 1 1/2 years.

Posts: 44
Joined: Jul 2007

My Dad has had a PET/CT scan. It is my understanding that it is a PET SCAN and CT Scan and they overlap the two and then read it. Hope this helps.

Betsydoglover's picture
Posts: 1256
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi -

My understanding is that PET scanners usually have CT built in - for positioning only. In other words, the CT is sufficient to indicate that the "lit up area" is the esophagus. BUT, it is not a diagnostic CT. That's why your father's doctor now wants a diagnostic CT. (I'm pretty sure this is good information as this is the way it was explained to me when I was evaluated at NIH/NCI a couple of years ago.)

For what it is worth, I always have both PET/CT and diagnostic CT - with fusion (where they fuse the diagnostic CT with the PET).

I wish the best for your Dad and I bet Hopkins will run every test in the book.

Take care,

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