Positron Emission Tomography (PET/CT)

How should I prepare for a PET scan?

Download PET Exam Prep Instructions

PET is usually done on an outpatient basis. You should:

  • wear comfortable clothes
  • do not eat after midnight the night before the exam 
  • drink plenty of water and water only---no caffeine, alcohol, sports drinks, soft drinks diet or regular, or nutritional supplements high in carbohydrates 
  • consult with the staff at SWDCMI regarding the use of medications before the test

What should I expect during a PET scan?

  • You receive an intravenous (IV) injection of the radioactive substance.
  • The radioactive substance will then take approximately 30 to 90 minutes to travel through your body and be absorbed by the tissue under study. During this time, you will be asked to rest quietly and avoid significant movement or talking, which may alter the localization of the administered substance.
  • You will be positioned on the PET scanner table and be asked to lie still during your exam.
  • Scanning takes 10 to 30 minutes.
  • Usually, there are no restrictions on daily routine after the test. You should drink plenty of fluids to flush the radioactive substance from your body.

What will I experience during a PET scan?

  • While accessing your veins by establishing an intravenous line (I.V.), you will feel like a slight prick. However, you will not feel the substance in your body. 
  • You will be made as comfortable as possible on the exam table before you are positioned in the PET scanner for the test.
  • Patients who are claustrophobic may feel some anxiety while positioned in the scanner but due to the extremely large bore diameter and the relatively short scan time, anxiety should be minimal if any.
  • Some patients find it uncomfortable to hold still in one position for more than a few minutes.

For more information on this topic, please visit www.Radiologyinfo.org.

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