What is a PET/CT?

A PET/CT (Positron emission tomography) is a non-invasive exam that uses small amounts of radioactive materials called radiotracers. One of the differences between PET/CT scans and other imaging tests is that the PET/CT scan reveals the function of an organ or tissue. This is important and unique because disease processes often begin with functional changes.

How do I prepare for a PET/CT?

Day prior to exam: high protein, low carb diet and no strenuous activity 24 hours before exam Do not eat, drink (except water) six hours prior to your scan. You may take your regularly scheduled medications. If you are diabetic, please contact the facility for additional instructions. You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing with no metal accessories.

What should I wear for my PET/CT?

We recommend that you wear comfortable, athletic-style clothing without metal snaps or zippers for the MRI. You may need to wear an exam gown during the study because snaps, zippers, hooks, belt buckles, and any other metal objects on your clothing affect the CT.

What happens during a PET/CT exam?

A technologist will insert an intravenous (IV) catheter into a vein in your hand or arm and inject a radiotracer. There are no side effects associated with the injection. 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. During this time you will be asked to rest quietly, avoiding excessive movement, and talking. You may be asked to drink some contrast material that will localize in the intestines and help the radiologist interpreting the study.

You will be positioned on an examination table and moved into the PET/CT scanner and the imaging will begin. You will need to remain still during imaging. The PET/CT images will take 20-30 minutes to complete.

What happens after my PET/CT exam?

You will be free to leave the facility and resume normal activities as your health permits.  A radiologist reads your PET/CT, and the results are reported directly back to your doctor.