PET/CT Imaging

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computed Tomography (CT) scans are both standard imaging tools that physicians use to pinpoint disease states in the body. A PET scan demonstrates how organs and tissues are functioning at a very early stage in a disease, often before structural changes take place. The CT scan provides information about the body’s anatomy, such as size, shape and location. By combining these two scanning technologies, a PET/CT scan enables physicians to more accurately diagnose and identify cancer, heart disease and brain disorders.

A single PET/CT exam can provide information that once would have required several medical studies and possibly surgery. PET scans are most often used to help the physician detect cancer and monitor response to treatment. PET scans are also used to evaluate heart disease and neurological conditions.

PET/CT scans provide the physician with valuable information. For cancer patients it may help specialists understand the extent of disease, guide the most effective therapy, and then help evaluate if the treatment is effective. PET/CT scans also aid in the diagnosis of heart disease and neurological diseases. This type of imaging may show changes much earlier than other imaging tests like CT or MRI.

The risks associated with a PET/CT scan are very slight. The amount of radiation is low and the injected radiopharmaceutical decays quickly so there is no detectable radioactivity after a few hours. In addition to the radioactive decay, the remaining radiopharmaceutical is eliminated from the body through urine. Family members are not at risk for exposure since most of the radioactivity has left the body or decayed before the patient has left the center. The physician ordering your PET/CT scan will explain any associated risks and benefits from a PET/CT exam. Our Chief Technologist will also be able to address any questions you might have about the safety of PET/CT imaging.

Radiopharmaceuticals are used in a wide variety of Nuclear Medicine and PET/CT exams to image and measure how the body functions. In PET/CT imaging the most commonly used radiopharmaceutical is a radioactive form of glucose that allows doctors to image and measure how cells in the body use glucose for fuel. Different diseases increase or decrease the amount of glucose used.

Your Care

Upon arrival at the imaging center, our Patient Care Coordinator will review and complete your patient registration information.  Afterward, our Technologist will escort you to a comfortable uptake room where you will receive a radiopharmaceutical injection.  You will then be asked to relax and remain physically inactive for approximately 60 minutes to allow the radiopharmaceutical to distribute throughout your body.

After this resting period, you will be asked to empty your bladder and then lie down on the scanner bed. The scan takes approximately 15-35 minutes, depending upon the type of scan you are having and the type of scanner being used. It is important that you lie still during this process. If you need pain medication please bring it with you. You should plan on being at the imaging facility for approximately 2 to 3 hours.

Correct preparation for your PET/CT study is very important!

Before arriving for your exam appointment, you will be asked to carefully follow specific exam preparation instructions, especially regarding food and drink. You may download a copy of these instructions by clicking here.

In addition, please try to refrain from strenuous physical activity (working out, jogging, heavy lifting, etc.) for 24 hours prior to your exam.

If you need to reschedule your appointment, please contact us as soon as possible so that we may reschedule your exam for a more convenient time.  In these cases, we ask that you give us as much notice as possible, because the radiopharmaceuticals we use must be ordered in advance and cannot be reused once we receive them.

Please be sure to bring a valid government ID and your insurance card to your exam appointment. It will also be helpful to bring a list of any medications you are currently taking and copies of your most recent X-ray, CT, or MRI exams.

Please be aware that our exam rooms can sometimes be cool, so we suggest that you wear warm comfortable clothing. We also ask that you avoid wearing jewelry or clothes with metal fasteners or zippers.

If you are on anxiety medication or are claustrophobic, please bring medication with you in order to take it while in the uptake room.

We have chairs available in our waiting room for family members to relax while you are having your procedure.  However, due to the nature of the medication and the scanner used, family members (especially pregnant women & children) are not allowed in the uptake rooms or scan room.

The PET/CT scan is interpreted by a Radiologist and the results are usually sent to the referring physician within one to two business days. Our staff are not qualified nor allowed to discuss exam results with patients.  Your physician will discuss your PET/CT exam results during your next scheduled visit.

If you would like any other physician or healthcare provider to receive copies of your PET/CT results and medical records, we will require your specific and written authorization.  We encourage you to utilize a form for such purposes that may be downloaded here.

After your referring physician has discussed with you the results of your PET/CT exam, you may request and receive personally a copy of your PET/CT exam results and medical records.  In these cases, please call us at (337) 433-3001 to make this request and schedule a pickup time that give us sufficient time to duplicate your records.  You will also be required to complete and sign a medical release at the time you receive your records.  A copy of this release may be downloaded here.

Receiving feedback from our patients regarding their experience with our services and staff is a powerful avenue for us to assess whether we are meeting their needs and allows us to address any shortcomings that might arise.

To facilitate this process, every patient should receive this Patient Satisfaction Survey to complete and return with their thoughts about the entire experience at our imaging center and with our organization.

Billing & Payments

We accept Medicare and most insurance and managed care plans. As, plans or contracts may change, please contact us if you would like to know whether we currently accept a specific plan.

In you are insured, outstanding deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance will be collected at the time of your exam. If for any reason you will be responsible for all or most of the charges, please contact us to discuss our reduced self-pay fee schedule and explore the payment arrangements available to you.

If you are not currently insured, if your insurance policy does not cover this type of exam, or if for any other reason you will be responsible for all or most of the charges, please contact us to discuss our reduced self-pay fee schedule and explore the payment arrangements available to you.

If you have questions or concerns about the bill you receive for your exam, we encourage you to contact our helpful billing staff at (318) 424-6486.  We will be happy to discuss your bill and address any questions or concerns you may have.

Imaging exams involve two separate fees–one for the scan or procedure itself (performed and billed by us) and one for the professional interpretation of the images (performed and billed by a Radiologist). You will likely receive separate bills for each service.