Key Points about PET Scans
- PET scans accurately create images of your cells.
- Before your exam, you will receive an injection of radioactive glucose, which will take an hour to spread throughout your body.
About PET scan
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a powerful imaging technique that holds great promise in the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases, particularly cancer. A non-invasive test, PET scans accurately create images of your cells. PET scans provide a more complete picture, making it easier for your doctor to diagnose problems, determine the extent of disease, prescribe treatment and track progress.
Preparing for a PET scan
- Do not eat or drink 6 hours prior to your exam.
- Take regular medications with water, except diabetic medications. Oral diabetic medications cannot be taken within six hours of your scan. Insulin should not be injected within four hours of the scan.
- Blood glucose should be less than 200 before the injection of radioactive glucose.
- For glucose levels above 200, please contact our imaging department prior to your appointment time.
- Wear comfortable clothes.
- If you are pregnant, have implanted devices such as pacemaker or infusion pumps, have breast tissue expanders or have religious or cultural concerns, please contact the radiology department before your exam.
- Discuss with your physician if you anticipate experiencing anxiety or claustrophobia. A mild sedative may be prescribed for you to bring with you to your appointment. If so, plan to have someone drive you home.
- If you need to schedule, please give us at least 24 hour notice.
Expectations during PET scan
Before your exam, you will receive an injection of radioactive glucose, which will take an hour to spread throughout your body. You will be asked to empty your bladder and then lie down on the scanner bed. The scan takes approximately 15-35 minutes, depending upon the type of scan you are having and the type of scanner being used. It is important that you lie still during this process. If you need pain medication, please bring it with you.
Length of PET scan
You should plan on being at the imaging facility for approximately 2 to 3 hours.