WHAT IS PET/CT?
PET/CT combines the functional information from a positron emission tomography (PET) exam with the anatomical information from a computed tomography (CT) exam into one single exam.
The PET exam pinpoints metabolic activity in cells, and the CT exam provides an anatomical reference. When these two scans are fused together, your physician can view metabolic changes in the proper anatomical orientation of your body.
BEFORE YOUR PET/CT EXAM
You will receive a phone call 1-2 days before your exam to review preparation instructions and address any questions you may have.
After your arrival, you will be escorted to one of our private patient rooms, and a technologist will review your exam with you. We will ask you questions about your medical history and any past exams. You will receive an injection of a small amount of a radiopharmaceutical. This radiopharmaceutical will lose its radioactivity very quickly. In all cases, little or no radioactivity will remain in your body more than a few hours after your exam. In order to allow the radiopharmaceutical to distribute, we will ask you to relax for 30 minutes to an hour prior to starting your exam.
DURING YOUR PET/CT EXAM
You will lie on a comfortable padded table. The table will move slowly through the tube-shaped PET/CT scanner as it acquires the information needed to generate diagnostic images. You will be asked to lie very still during the scan because movement can interfere with the results.
During the scan, you might hear a humming noise, but you will not feel anything unusual. You may feel the table move while images are being taken at certain locations on your body.The technologist will have you in full view during the exam and will be able to answer any questions you might have.
The PET/CT exam should last between 30 and 45 minutes. Plan to spend approximately 2 hours with us.
AFTER YOUR PET/CT EXAM
After consulting with the PET/CT technologist, you may leave. Unless you have received special instructions, you will be able to eat and drink immediately. There are no restrictions from driving under normal circumstances.
The radiologist will carefully review the images from your PET/CT exam and send a full report of the findings to your doctor, who will then discuss the findings with you.
PET/CT EXAM PREPARATION
Do not eat or drink anything except water for 4-6 hours before your exam because it could interfere with the results; don't even chew gum.
If you take medications, drink only water to swallow them.
If you have been advised not to take your medications on an empty stomach, you may eat a few crackers with your medications 4-6 hours before your exam.
If you are diabetic, let us know ahead of time so we can work with your physician to determine the safest possible way for you to prepare for your exam.
If you feel feverish, please call this to our attention.
Please let us know if you might be pregnant or are currently breast feeding.
No strenuous exercise six hours prior to your scan.
Please bring copies of your most recent CT films and reports with you to the exam. They will be returned after the radiologist has reviewed them.