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Professional Radiology and Outpatient Imaging Services

Procedure Prep - PET/CT

How should I prepare for my exam?

A staff member will call you before your exam to review how to prepare and answer your questions. Do not perform strenuous activity 24 hours prior to this procedure. This includes but is not limited to: running, physical fitness, heavy lifting and repetitive motion. If your occupation requires a high level of activity, you may need to take off the day prior to your scan.

If your previous imaging was not done at one of our locations, you may be asked to contact your former provider and request that your film be sent to us for a comparison study.

The day before your PET scan:

Drink at least 2-3 glasses of water during the day and take your medications as scheduled. If you are a diabetic, follow your normal diet. Do not perform any strenuous activity during the 24 hours before this procedure. This includes but is not limited to: running, physical fitness, heavy lifting and repetitive motion.

IMPORTANT NOTE: FDG is formulated and ordered specifically for the patient and exam requested. FDG can only be used within a short period of time, so please notify us 24 hours in advance if you have to reschedule or cancel your appointment.

The Day of your PET scan:

During the 4 hours prior to your appointment:

  • Do not eat anything ─ that means nothing in your mouth, not a mint, cough drop or even chewing gum.
  • Do not drink any liquids of any kind except for two 8 oz. glasses of plain water ─ that means NOTHING added to the water. You may take solid pills, but only with the water.
  • If you are a diabetic, do not inject any insulin during the 4 hours prior to your appointment. You may take your diabetes pills with water. Your blood sugar MUST be below 200 when you arrive for your appointment for our test to work.
  • If you eat anything, drink anything besides plain water, or inject insulin during the 4 hours before you appointment we will not be able to do your PET scan.

How much time should I allow?

Plan to spend approximately 2 hours at the imaging center.

What should I bring to my appointment?

  • Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing and avoid jewelry, zippers and snaps.
  • Arrive 15 minutes early to complete registration.
  • Bring your insurance card and a valid photo ID.

Can I eat or drink before my scan?

For a 24 hour period prior to your PET scan, please drink extra fluids. If you are diabetic, follow your normal diet and take your medications as scheduled. During the 4 hours prior to your scan, please drink 2 glasses of water. Do not eat or drink anything else during this period.

What happens during the exam?

An imaging technologist will weigh you and take a blood sample to check your blood sugar level. An IV line will be placed in your arm and the technologist will inject a low-dose radiolabeled sugar called FDG. You will then sit in a special room for one hour so this special sugar has time to circulate through your body and be metabolized by your cells and organs.

Some cells and many diseases use FDG more than others, and PET measures these differences. For this reason, after the injection of FDG you will be taken to a quiet room to relax for one hour while the FDG circulates throughout your body.

After the hour has passed, you will be brought to the scanner room and lie on a cushioned, moveable table. The table will move slowly through the machine during the scan. For the best quality images, you will be asked to remain as still as possible during the exam. The PET/CT can take 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the information your healthcare provider requested.

How will I feel after the scan?

You can leave immediately after your scan. You may drive, resume your normal diet, exercise and take all prescribed medications. Your activity will not be restricted, however as an extra precaution, avoid getting close to infants, children or pregnant women for the rest of the day due to the FDG that was injected. Be sure to drink lots of fluids to flush the remaining sugar out of your system.

Your images will be interpreted by one of our board-certified radiologists. The findings will be sent to your healthcare provider.

For your comfort, please be sure to:

If you are insulin dependent, do NOT inject any insulin during the 4 hours prior to your procedure, but do bring your insulin along with you to the exam.

How will I receive my PET scan results?

A Board Certified Radiologist (a physician who specializes in interpreting diagnostic images) will study the images from your examination and send a report to your physician.