What Is a PET/CT Scan?
Positron Emission Tomography – PET imaging is a diagnostic test used to visualize metabolically active tissues such as cancer. Cancer cells are hyperactive and therefore metabolize the injection of the radioactive tracer FDG faster than normal cells. The radioactivity from the FDG can be detected by the PET scanner and then generate images for diagnosis and treatment. A CT scan is performed immediately after the PET scan in the same room.
PET/CT Services Offered
- Whole body PET/CT Scan
- Brain PET Scan
- Sodium Fluoride PET/CT Bone Imaging
Before the PET/CT Scan
- Women should always inform the technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Metal objects including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures and hairpins may affect the CT images and should be left at home or removed prior to your exam. You may also be asked to remove hearing aids and removable dental work.
- Eating: The day before your exam, follow a low carbohydrate, high protein diet, avoiding sweets, breads, pasta, rice, and cereals. Do not eat anything for at least 6 hours prior to your exam. Most medications do not interfere with this test and can be taken as usual.
- Diabetic Patients: For the test to be effective, it is important for your blood sugar levels to be low. At the time you schedule your appointment, please inform us if you are diabetic so we can provide special instructions.
- Exercise: Do not exercise within 24-hours of your scheduled PET scan appointment.
During the PET/CT Scan
- A technologist will insert an intravenous (IV) catheter into a vein in your hand or arm and you will receive the FDG injection. Except for intravenous injections, PET/CT scans are painless.
- Typically, 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 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 actual CT scanning takes less than two minutes. The PET scan takes 20-30 minutes.
- Total scanning time is approximately 30 minutes.
After the Scan
- You may resume your normal activities and diet immediately following the test.
- Since the injected FDG degrades quickly, 90% of the radioactivity has left your body or decomposed before you leave our facility. Family members are not at risk for exposure.
- A report from today’s exam will be sent to your doctor within 3 days.