WHAT IS A PET/CT?
Positron emission tomography (PET) produces images of how the body functions and measures metabolic activity. Computed tomography (CT) provides cross-sectional images of the body. PET/CT combines these two noninvasive procedures into one exam. For our patients, this advanced technique reduces scan time and increases accuracy and comfort, while providing physicians with exceptional views of the whole body and its functions.
PREPARING FOR YOUR PET/CT
Your comfort during the procedure is one of our highest priorities. We can achieve it through your help with the following:
- Please arrive on time for the exam.
- Please remember to bring your insurance card, your referral form, a current list of medications, previous X-rays and any CT and MRI films/CDs.
- Please wear comfortable clothing and leave all valuable items at home. Avoid underwire bras, girdles, metal snaps and pins.
- Please do not eat four hours prior to your procedure, but do drink plenty of water.
- Please do not exercise or engage in strenuous activity the day before and the day of your exam.
- If you are diabetic, you will be given instructions by your doctor regarding your medications for the day of your PET/CT scan.
- All other medications should be taken as prescribed.
DURING YOUR PET/CT
Prior to your exam, a small amount of radioactive glucose “tracer” will be given to you through injection. You will be asked to rest for 45 minutes while the tracer travels through your body and settles in the organs that need to be examined. During the exam, you will lie on the scanner table. The table will move in small increments during the scan, allowing images to be taken of multiple areas of the body. As the tracer emits signals, the PET/CT scanner detects and records them, then converts them into pictures using our advanced computer technology. You can expect the scanning procedure to take less than an hour. Your PET/CT technologist will be present in a nearby room through the entire process and will remain in constant communication with you. Please pay close attention to his/her instructions and try not to make any unnecessary movement during the procedure.
PLEASE NOTIFY US
- Please notify us if you are taking any medications for seizures.
- If you are pregnant, think you may be pregnant or are nursing, please consult your physician before scheduling your PET/CT appointment.
- If you must reschedule or cancel your appointment, please give us at least 24 hours’ notice.
- If you are uncomfortable at any time during your procedure, please notify your technologist right away.
AFTER YOUR PET/CT
When your procedure is finished, you should feel no side effects from the radioactive glucose tracer. You can resume your normal activities and diet, but you should drink plenty of fluids for a few hours after the exam. Drinking fluids will help you to flush the tracer out of your body. Here’s what happens next:
- Our PET/CT technologist prepares your images for the radiologist to evaluate.
- The radiologist interprets your results and writes a report.
- The report is then sent to your doctor. Your doctor will talk with you about your PET/CT results and next steps.