What is a PET/CT scan?
An integrated PET/CT scan is the most advanced imaging technology for the detection and evaluation of cancer. The whole-body scan generates high resolution images of abnormal activity and its location. A PET/CT scan provides images of the entire body, detecting primary and secondary disease earlier and more accurately than other imaging technology.
How do physicians use a PET/CT scan?
Physicians use PET/CT images to determine the extent of disease and the effectiveness of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery. PET/CT scanning allows early detection of the recurrence of cancer, revealing tumors that might otherwise be obscured by scar tissue which can result from surgery and radiation therapy.
How is the PET/CT scan conducted?
A small amount of radioactive sugar is injected into a patient’s bloodstream. The radioactive sugar circulates in the body while the patient relaxes for approximately one hour. The patient is then positioned on a bed that slowly passes through the scanner. The PET/CT scan takes approximately 30 minutes.
Is a PET/CT scan safe?
Yes. The risks associated with PET/CT scanning are minimal. Radioactive sugar, also known as glucose, is short-lived and leaves the body quickly. The radioactive sugar is not a contrast agent. The radiation exposure associated with a PET/CT scan is similar to that associated with conventional imaging exams.
How should I prepare for a PET/CT scan?
- DO NOT EAT or DRINK anything except water 6 hours prior to your PET/CT scan (including candy, coffee, chewing gum, cough drops, or mints).
- Drink at least 6 glasses of water during the 24 hours prior to your appointment.
- Most medications are acceptable. If you take diuretics (water pills), please call your doctor to see if it is safe to discontinue taking them on the day of your exam.
- Do not perform strenuous activity 24 hours before your scan (e.g., weight lifting, running, aerobics).
- Please wear warm, comfortable, metal-free clothing to your appointment.
- Tobacco Users – Do not smoke or use tobacco for at least 12 hours prior to your exam.
- If you currently have or have had an infection, please call our office before your appointment.
- If you are diabetic or extremely claustrophobic, please call our office before your scan.
- Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time.
- Please bring your current insurance card(s) and photo identification along with your copay/payment for service, as applicable.