PET Imaging for Neurology

FDG PET has neurology applications for:

  • Diagnosis of partial epilepsy
  • Localizing seizure focus
  • Predicting surgical outcome
  • Early diagnosis of dementia
  • Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease

What is the PET Scan Procedure for Neurology ?

Scheduling the procedure

When scheduling the PET scan, inform the PET imaging staff if:

  • Your patient is taking any medication
  • Your patient is diabetic
  • Your patient is pregnant of nursing

Diet and exercise requirements should be discussed with the PET imaging staff. Often, they will require that the patient avoid certain foods and exercise prior to the time of your study.

On the day of the exam the patient should:

  • Fast for at least 6 hours prior to your appointment
  • Not exercise
  • Arrive on time for the PET procedure
  • Bring the following:
    • Insurance information
    • Written order from your physician
    • Films and reports from any previous diagnostic imaging procedure, including x-ray, CT or MRI
  • Wear warm, comfortable clothing
  • Plan to spend two to three hours at the PET imaging facility. Exam times and procedures vary with each pati

Upon arrival at the PET center:

  • Medical history and any prior PET exams will be reviewed
  • Blood sugar level may be checked
  • Imaging tracer, FDG, will be administered by way of injection
  • A brief resting period will be required before the scanning begins. This resting period is necessary for the FDG to be distributed throughout the body

At the time of PET scanning

  • The patient will be positioned on the scan table
  • The table will be moved into a large opening in the PET scanner
  • The patient will be asked to lie still while the PET scanner acquires the images
  • The time of the scan varies, but typically ranges from 15-30 minutes

Upon PET scan completion

  • A technologist will process the computer images
  • The reading physician will interpret the images
  • A report will be generated and forwarded to you or the patient’s referring physician

Does insurance cover PET for Neurology?

PET for neurology is covered for:

  • Presurgical evaluation of refractory seizures
  • Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease

What are the Medicare Guidelines?

PET for refractory seizures is covered if:

  • It is performed for presurgical evaluations

PET for Alzheimer’s Disease is covered for patients with:

  • Documented cognitive decline of at least six months
  • Recently established diagnosis of dementia who:
    • Meet diagnostic criteria for both Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and fronto-temporal dementia (FTD)
    • Have been evaluated for specific alternate neurodegenerative diseases or causative factors
    • The cause of the clinical symptoms remains uncertain.
  • For Medicare’s criteria requirements please access the full document below:
    • September 2004 Medicare Decision Summary (DOC)
    • September 2004 Medicare Full Decision Memo (DOC)

For more information contact your PET center nearest you

* Images courtesy of GE Medical Systems