A PET scan is a series of detailed pictures of your child’s body that are taken after a healthcare provider injects a small amount of radioactive material into your child’s blood. PET scans are especially useful for looking at the brain or the heart and for the spread of some cancers.
A PET scan can be used to diagnose diseases or conditions. It may be done to find:
This procedure is usually done at an outpatient clinic or hospital.
First your child will be given a small amount of radioactive material, called a tracer. Depending on what part of the body is being studied, the tracer will be injected into your child’s vein, swallowed with a small amount of liquid, or breathed in through a mask. Over the next hour, the tracer will be absorbed by the parts of your child’s body that are being studied, making it easier for the healthcare provider to see any abnormal areas. Then your child will lie down on a moving table that slides into the PET scan machine, which is a large, hollow tube. Your child will need to rest quietly and try not to move or talk while the technologist takes pictures.
Your child can go home soon after the test. He should drink plenty of fluids to help his body get rid of the radioactive material.
Follow your healthcare provider's instructions. Ask your healthcare provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.
Every procedure or treatment has risks. One possible risk of this procedure is an allergic reaction to the chemical used in the scan.
Ask your healthcare provider how this risk applies to your child. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.