PET-CT scan | Whole Body |MedStar Health

Finding cancer with advanced imaging technology

Doctor examining digital x ray

A Positron Emission Tomography-Computerized Tomography (PET-CT) scan helps to see if there is active cancer in your body. It also helps to see if the cancer has spread. The scan also helps in the assessment of how you responded to the cancer treatment.

PET-CT imaging is a very advanced, non-invasive test that allows detection of tumors earlier, and sometimes more reliably, than other imaging methods. In the past, PET scans and CT scans were performed separately in two different types of cameras. Although in some instances it still may be performed this way, at MedStar Washington Hospital Center we have a state-of-the-art, "hybrid" PET-CT unit that can perform both tests almost simultaneously. This greatly improves diagnostic accuracy and may help prevent additional examinations.

PET-CT involves the injection of a small amount of radioactive sugar called FDG into your vein, followed by obtaining "pictures" of your body. Because tumor cells are typically more active than normal cells and they need sugar to grow, the tumor cells will take up the radioactive sugar and essentially "light up" on the scan. This allows the PET-CT camera to take highly specialized pictures and image the radioactivity within the tumor cells.

Our difference


At MedStar Health, we offer the capability of hybrid imaging of PET and CT examinations. Our state-of-the-art imaging center is proud to provide patients with GEMINI TF TruFlight PET technology, featuring time-of-flight, which raises effective image sensitivity by more than two times over conventional PET scanners and provides other PET performance improvements. The clinical advantages of this technology include:

  • Fast image acquisitions, as short as 10 minutes, for a PET whole body acquisition

  • A consistently excellent level of image quality, particularly with large patients

  • Excellent spatial resolution and lesion delectability for visualization of small lesions

  • The ability to use lower doses of radio-pharmaceuticals, reducing exposure to patients and staff

  • Superior count rate performance for emerging molecular imaging and research applications

The better images in turn allow better localization of the cancer sites, which helps your physicians better design your treatment plan.

GEMINI TF unique open gantry design provides increased patient comfort and flexibility for clinical access. GEMINI systems provide a 190-centimeter scan length for both PET and CT.

At MedStar Health, we offer:

  • Combined reading sessions with board-certified radiologists and board-certified nuclear medicine physicians

  • Open gantry design for increased patient comfort

  • Increased workflow thanks to shortened acquisition time

  • Increased image sensitivity and diagnostic confidence, regardless of patient size

  • Better lesion delectability and increasing image clarity

Our providers

Lab Specialist using a machine to conduct a medical test in a laboratory

Expert diagnostic care

Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our diagnostic specialists.