Exam Preparation - PET-CT

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Printable Information for Patients
Printable Information for Patients

Preparing for your PET-CT Scan

  • For a period of 6 hours prior to the PET-CT appointment, you may have nothing to eat or drink except plain water. This will insure that you have an accurate scan.
  • You may take your regularly scheduled medications as needed, if they can be tolerated on an empty stomach.
  • If you have diabetes or have a history of claustrophobia, please let us know before you come in for your appointment. Our staff will then call you and discuss special instructions for your scan.
  • You should wear warm, comfortable clothing for your scan. Please do not wear jewelry or anything made out of metal since these items may interfere with the scan.
  • Please plan to spend 2 to 3 hours at our office.
  • You should not exercise on the day prior to your PET-CT scan or on the day of your PET-CT scan.

What to bring with you to your PET-CT scan appointment

  • Your written prescription from your physician and your insurance card.
  • Any previous CT, MRI, and PET-CT films and reports. Your physician may arrange to have these sent to our University Radiology PET-CT Center directly or have you bring them with you.
  • Your favorite music on CD to listen to during your scan.

Coming to your appointment on time is very important

Your appointment time is carefully chosen to insure that the radiotracers are as fresh as they need to be to obtain an accurate study. If you cannot arrive on time or if you need to reschedule your appointment, please call us right away at 732-390-0030, and we will give you further instructions.

What to expect during and after your scan

  • When you arrive at our center, you will be asked to complete a history questionnaire.
  • We will then check your body’s glucose (sugar) level; if this level is normal, you will then receive a small amount of radioactive glucose in your arm. There will be no side-effects from the injected radiotracer. You will feel fine.
  • You will then wait 30 to 60 minutes while the injected material circulates through your body.
  • You will then be asked to lie on a table without moving while the scan is taking place. The scan usually takes 30 to 60 minutes to complete. Our technologist will be talking with you during the study.
  • When the scan is completed, you will be free to go home. We encourage you to eat and drink extra fluids after the scan. You may eat or drink whatever you wish.

What is PET-CT?

Positron Emission Tomography or PET is a special Nuclear Medicine test used to measure changes in the body that are associated with many diseases. PET-CT provides information about metabolic or body process changes which may occur before changes in anatomy. The metabolic information from the PET and the anatomic data from the CT combine to help best locate any lesions in the body.

The CT scan works to bring together the data. It does not function as a full diagnostic CT scan. The CT scan is usually performed first and then followed-up, with a separate PET-CT exam.

What is FDG?

FDG, or F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose, is a radioactive tracer. This tracer is a form of glucose, or sugar which is injected before the PET-CT scan. The PET-CT scanner will show how your body is utilizing the radioactive glucose. If there is a specific disease, the glucose may highlight or take up more glucose in the diseased area than in other parts of the body. Physicians can then determine how to best treat those areas.

What are the benefits of a PET-CT study?

The PET-CT scan will provide your physician with information that is not available with any other type of study. The PET-CT scan can help better diagnose and stage many different diseases. The study can often help your physician plan the best treatment and monitor how well the chosen treatment is working.

What are the risks of the PET-CT scan?

The PET-CT scan requires exposure to a small amount of radiopharmaceutical that is not considered harmful to your health. There are no reported side-effects from the FDG. Pregnant or nursing women should not have a PET-CT scan without discussing the risks with their doctor.

How will I find out the scan results?

The results of your PET-CT scan at University Radiology will be called or faxed to your referring physician usually the same day. A copy of your PET-CT scan report, as well as printed images, will be sent to your physician. Your referring physician will then review the scan findings with you.

What if I have questions?

If you have further questions about your PET-CT scan, please call us at 732-390-0030 and we will be happy to speak with you.

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