PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and CT (Computed Tomography) scans are common imaging techniques used to diagnose and stage disease within the body. By combining PET and CT scans, the radiologist can view details involving both physical and functional changes in the body.
PET/CT imaging uses a radioactive isotope that absorbs into tissue. Some diseased cells absorb more of the isotope than healthy cells, aiding in a proper diagnosis.
How Is a PET/CT Procedure Performed?
PET/CT scans are noninvasive and easily tolerated by most patients. The scan can be complete in approximately 30 minutes, but you can expect your appointment to be 2 hours or more to accommodate the absorption of the contrast agent. Following the exam, you can resume your normal activities.
The typical PET/CT procedure includes:
- A small amount of radioactive contrast agent is given by an IV injection.
- Wait approximately 1 hour for the contrast agent to be absorbed by your body.
- Change into a hospital gown.
- Recline on the exam table.
- The exam table will slide into the imaging machine.
- You will hear noises as the images are captured.
- The computer will fuse the images acquired from both devices.
Preparing for Your PET/CT Procedure
We are here to assist you. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the procedure. To minimize reactions to the contrast agent, we recommend the following:
- Refrain from eating or drinking for 6 hours prior to your scan, except for water and medications.
- Eliminate foods containing sugar or sugar substitutes for 24 hours prior to your appointment.
- Relax and minimize exercise the day of the exam.
- Consume a high in protein, low in carbohydrate meal a minimum of 6 hours prior to your appointment.
- If you are claustrophobic, please bring a driver.