What to Expect

The following information will help you prepare for your appointment at the imaging facility.

The scanner rooms can sometimes be cool, so we suggest that you wear warm comfortable clothing. You should avoid wearing jewelry or clothes with metal fasteners or zippers.

You will be given specific preparation instructions regarding food and drink, but generally you will be instructed not to eat or have any liquids, except water, for at least four to six hours before your scan. In addition, refrain from strenuous physical activity for 24 hours prior to your exam, such as working out, jogging, heavy lifting, etc.

If possible, bring copies of your most recent CT, X-ray, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) films with you on the day of your PET/CT scan.

Be prepared to stay at the imaging facility for approximately two to three hours. You will be asked to lie quietly for approximately 60 minutes before the scan, and to lie still for approximately 30 minutes while the scan is being performed.

Procedure

Before arriving at the imaging facility you should carefully follow the patient preparation instructions. Correct preparation for your PET/CT study is very important.

Once at the imaging center, you will be asked to complete the necessary paperwork to begin the procedure. Be sure to bring your insurance cards with you to ensure accurate billing. It may also be helpful to bring a list of any medications you are currently taking.

You will receive an intravenous injection and then you will be asked to rest quietly for approximately 60 minutes. After this resting period you will empty your bladder and the technologist will escort you into the scanning room where you will lie down on the scanner table. It is important to be comfortable and lie as still as possible for 15-35 minutes as the table passes slowly through the scanner acquiring several sets of images. A PET or PET/CT scan is fast straight forward and painless.

How Long Will the Scan Take?

You should plan on spending at least two to three hours at the imaging facility. There is a 60 minute resting period before imaging, and your actual scan will take approximately 15-35 minutes, depending on the type of scan you are having and the type of scanner being used.

Diabetic Patients

Make sure you inform the imaging facility staff ahead of time if you are diabetic, and follow their specific instructions or the instructions given to you by your physician. A nurse may check your blood sugar level which should be between 100-200 mg/dL before your PET/CT scan.