Services - PET CT Scanning

A PET CT scan takes 3D Computed Tomography CT pictures of the structures of your body.

At the same time, a mildly radioactive drug shows up areas of your body where the cells are more active than normal – Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

The scanner combines both of these types of information

Allows your radiologist to see any changes in the activity of cells and know exactly where the changes are happening.

What is a PET CT scan used for?

  • Diagnose and stage cancer
  • Determine whether a lump is cancer or not
  • Identify whether a cancer has spread to other parts of the body
  • Help your doctors decide on the best treatment for your cancer
  • Show how well your treatment is working
  • Show the the difference between scar tissue and active cancer tissue.  After you have had treatment for cancer, a scan may show that there are still some signs of the cancer left. But this may not be active cancer – it could be scar tissue left over from cancer destroyed by your treatment. A PET CT scan can sometimes shows whether this tissue is active cancer or not
  • PET CT scans may be used to diagnose inflammatory conditions as well as dementia and cardiovascular disease

What does having a PET CT Scan involve?

  • Your doctor or the scanning department will give you instructions on how to prepare for your scan
  • You should not normally have anything to eat for 6 hours beforehand, although you can usually drink as much as you like, but you must avoid milk and sugary drinks
  • Unless you are told otherwise, you should carry on taking any medicines prescribed for you by your doctor
  • When you arrive, check in with the receptionist so the radiographers know you are there
  •  You will be asked to change into a hospital gown and take off all your jewellery and any other metallic objects
  • Your doctor may want you to take a sedative to relax the muscles around your neck and shoulders. This can give clearer pictures on the scan
  • You will have a small need (cannula) put into one of the veins in the back of your hand or arm. Then you have the radioactive drug (tracer) as an injection through the cannula
  • You lie down to have the needle inserted and radioactive tracer injected and for at least one hour afterwards. You will be ready for your scan when your body has absorbed the radioactive drug
  • You then go to the toilet to empty your bladder
  • Then you go into the scanning room
  • You lie on your back on the scanning bed and the bed moves through the scanner
  • The scan takes between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on which parts of your body are scanned. The scan is not particularly noisy but the computers and air conditioning make a constant background noise
  • You need to stay as still as you can during the scan. You can talk to the scan operator through an intercom if you need to
  • Some people feel a bit claustrophobic (‘closed in’) when they are having a scan.  If you think you are likely to feel this way, tell the radiographer or technologist before the day of your appointment.

New state-of-the-art PET CT scanner at BMI Mount Alvernia Hospital

The hospital has been offering PET CT scanning since April 2014 and in 2019, it replaced the existing unit with a state-of-the-art static facility installed in St Martha’s Oncology Unit adjacent to the Nuclear Medicine/PET CT facility, chemotherapy suite and radiotherapy LinAc.  The Guildford Unit supports private patients  within the Surrey, Sussex & Hampshire cancer networks but offers scanning to suitable patients anywhere in the UK including London, and from abroad.

The digital scanner offers a high specification four detector ring configuration and is able to offer FDG scans for Lymphoma, Melanoma, Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer, Head & Neck Malignancy and cancer at multiple other sites.  It is now also able to offer PSMA scanning for staging prostate cancer.

The scanner produces digital images which are promptly made available with a report to the patient as well as their oncologist, surgeon or other referrer and scans are routinely uploaded for transmission by the Image Exchange Protocol (IEP) throughout the UK to the relevant cancer centre and their associated teams.  They support clinic appointments and aid planning for radiotherapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, biopsies and other cancer interventions.

The scanner is recognised by all major private medical insurers including AXA PPP, PruHealth, Aviva, WPA & BUPA with daily scanning (Monday-Friday) for rapid access.  Self-funding PET CT scans are available from £1650.00.  It is conveniently located in the centre of Guildford (GU1 3LX) and free parking available.

PET CT Scanner
PET CT image
PET CT image
PET CT image

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