Preparing for a PET/CT

What to expect the day of your scan
If you have never been to our facility, you will be asked to arrive earlier than your appointment with us, to visit registration, where your demographic and insurance information will be gathered. You will then go to the lab where a small finger stick will be done to test your glucose level. This test must be done immediately upon your arrival as this current information is necessary for the PET/CT.

When you arrive, you will be greeted by the front desk staff, and asked to fill out an extensive questionnaire. Someone from the nursing or technical staff will greet you, go over the questionnaire with you and explain the test. At this point, you will be asked to drink a very dilute barium contrast. Then you will change into a comfortable robe and remove any metal objects. You may remain dressed if you wear casual attire that contains no metal objects, zippers, buttons, hooks, or snaps.

Next, a small intravenous line (IV) will be placed in your arm so that a safe amount of radionuclide can be given to you. Following the injection, you will rest on a lounge chair in a quiet room for 30 to 45 minutes while the radionuclide is distributed through your body. You will not feel any effects from this process. The doctor may request an IV contrast for the CT portion of the exam, so the IV will be left in until your exam is finished.

You will then be placed comfortably on our PET/CT table and imaged. During this time, it is important that you remain as still as you can. The imaging session will take between 30 and 60 minutes to complete. After the scan, you will change back into your clothes. A report and a copy of the exam on CD will be sent to your doctor within one to two business days.

Contrast Agents:
Your doctor or the radiologist may determine that one or more contrast agents need to be used to maximize the value of your PET/CT. There are two basic types of contrast agents: oral contrast and IV contrast. Your scan may include one or both of these contrast agents, in addition to the radionuclide.
If an oral contrast agent has been ordered then you will be asked to drink a contrast solution 60 minutes prior to the exam. After the exam, you must drink plenty of fluids for 24 to 48 hours.

If an IV contrast agent has been ordered then the exam will include injecting an iodine solution into a vein while you are on the PET/CT table. If your exam includes the use of an IV contrast then you may not eat or drink anything for 4 hours before the test. During the injection, you may experience a warm sensation throughout your body and a metal taste in you mouth. This is normal. Note: Diabetic patients and those with allergies must inform the PET/CT staff and may need clearance from their doctor before the exam.