To schedule an appointment for a PET scan, please call:
A PET scan, or positron emission tomography scan, is a test that lets our doctors see many of your organs to help diagnose a variety of diseases such as cancer. These scans require the injection of a small amount of a radioactive glucose into your bloodstream which your doctor can follow through your body using conventional CT scanning.
There is no danger from this injection. The radiation exposure associated with PET is similar to that of conventional CT scanning. Once you have received your injection, you will rest for about an hour to allow the glucose to be distributed through your body and then receive a CT scan.
The entire visit can last up to two to three hours.
For Your Safety
Tell your doctor or the technologist performing the exam if:
- You have allergies of any kind, such as allergy to iodine or X-ray contrast material, drugs, food, the environment, or asthma
- There is any possibility that you are pregnant and or if you’re breast feeding
- You have serious health problems or have recently had surgery
- You have about any metallic implants
- You are taking any medications, including herbal supplements
Preparing for a PET Scan
- Remove all metal, including jewelry, hair ornaments, watches, studs and coins.
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your appointment.
- Remove all makeup prior to the exam.
- Avoid drinking coffee or large volumes of fluid prior to your scan.
- Let your physician know if you feel uncomfortable or claustrophobic in a small space.
- You may be asked to wear a gown during the exam or you may be allowed to wear your own clothing.
- You may continue to take regular medications.
- Diabetic patients will receive special instructions to prepare for this exam.
What to Expect During a PET Scan
You will be positioned upright on an exam table. If necessary, a nurse or technologist will insert an intravenous (IV) line into a vein in your hand or arm. Depending on the type of nuclear medicine exam you are undergoing, the dose of radiotracer is then injected intravenously, swallowed or inhaled as a gas.
It will take approximately 60 minutes for the radiotracer to travel through your body and to be absorbed by the organ or tissue being studied. You will be asked to rest quietly, avoiding movement and talking.
You may be asked to drink some contrast material that will localize in the intestines and help the radiologist interpreting the study.
You will then be moved into the PET/CT scanner and the imaging will begin. You will need to remain still during imaging. The CT exam will be done first, followed by the PET scan.
The PET scan takes 20-30 minutes and the total scanning time is approximately 30 minutes.
When the examination is completed, you may be asked to wait until the technologist makes sure that they have all necessary images. After they have all of the images, your IV will be removed.
A radiologist will review your exam images and report the findings to your doctor. Your doctor will then discuss the findings and next steps with you.