A PET/CT scan is an advanced nuclear medicine study that helps your physician pinpoint a specific problem by looking at how your body systems function. Often used to provide additional information about tumors, PET/CT scans can also detect certain diseases of the heart and brain. PET/CT scans are relatively safe and painless. You will experience no side effects. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should not have a PET/CT scan.


Before the Day of Your Appointment

  • You will be contacted a day or two before your appointment to review this information, especially about taking or adjusting your current medications. If you are on medications for seizures, please tell the nurse who calls you. During this phone call, please be sure to ask anything you do not understand about PET/CT scans.
  • Make a list of all medications that you are currently taking. Be sure to include the name of the drug, the dose you take, and how frequently you take it.
  • Be sure to collect the following information to bring with you to the appointment: this brochure, your health benefit identification cards, referral forms, x-rays that your physician may give you to bring along, and your list of medications.
  • If you cannot keep your appointment, please call us at least 24 hours in advance. This is very important because the medication used for your test is ordered and prepared just for you the day before your procedure.

On the Day of Your Appointment

  • Do not eat or drink anything except water for 4 hours before your test.
  • Please dress comfortably. Avoid clothing with metal snaps, fasteners, or decorations.
  • If you are diabetic, follow the specific instructions you were given during the advance telephone call about taking your medications that day.
  • Please do not take Lasix or any diuretic on the day of your appointment.
  • Please take all other medications according to your normal schedule.
  • Please remember to bring this brochure, your health benefit cards, referral forms, list of current medications, and any additional x-rays that your doctor gave you.


Upon your arrival in the Nuclear Medicine Center, you will be welcomed and registered. You will then be taken to the PET/CT Scan center, and introduced to the nurse and certified nuclear medicine technologist who will perform the study.

Your blood sugar level will be checked. If it is high, then you will receive a dose of insulin as recommended by the physician. Your level will be rechecked to make certain it is within acceptable ranges.

Depending on the type of scan you are having, you may be asked to change into an examination gown.

Also depending on the type of scan, you may have a urinary catheter inserted.

Next, an intravenous line will be started in your arm. F-18 FDG, a colorless radioactive liquid, will be injected through the IV line. You will remain in a comfortable resting position for the next 45-60 minutes while the material circulates through your body.

Just before the start of the PET/CT scan, we will remove the IV line. You will also be asked to empty your bladder.

Next, you will be helped onto the imaging table, which will pass slowly through the scanner. This pass takes about 45-60 minutes. During this time, you are asked to remain very still.

When the scan is complete, you will be allowed to return home without any restrictions on your activities. However, you will be told to drink plenty of fluids and to double-flush the toilet for the next 24 hours.

Remember: for the next 24 hours, drink plenty of water and other fluids. Also, double-flush every time you use the toilet for the 24 hours following your appointment.

Your PET/CT scan will be interpreted by a radiologist, who will then report the results to your doctor. Your doctor will discuss the results with you at your next appointment.


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