Several days prior to your appointment date you will be contacted and given instructions regarding fasting, medications, and exercise. You will be asked to refrain from eating for 4 -6 hours before your scan. This includes chewing gum, cough drops, and candy of any kind. You are allowed to drink water at this time. In fact, extra water intake is encouraged on the day before and the day of your scan.
**Diabetic patients should check with their physician for additional instructions. No strenuous exercise will be allowed 24 hours prior to your scan. No jogging, shoveling, raking, heavy lifting, bicycling, etc.
We encourage you to wear comfortable clothing without excess metal such as buttons or zippers to your appointment. You will not be required to disrobe but you will be asked to remove jewelry and metal objects such as belt buckles, keys, coins, and money clips.
Upon arrival to Radiology Reception, you will be greeted and escorted to the Nuclear Medicine suite by one of our team members. There your Technologist will explain the procedure, discuss symptoms (if any) along with medical history and start an IV in vein in the arm (or hand). Seated in a reclining chair, your blood sugar will be checked with a finger stick as it is important to know your blood sugar level prior to the procedure.
A small amount radioactive tracer called 18F- FDG is injectedted through your IV . You will be asked to relax for 45-60 minutes following this injection with as little stimulation as possible to allow for proper absorption of the material. Following this period of resting, you will be escorted to the rest room to empty your bladder before your scan.
Your Nuclear Medicine Technologist will assist you onto the PET/CT Scanner and position you for your exam. The scan will take approximately 30 minutes. For maximun comfort, a pillow is placed under the head and the knees and you are covered with a warm blanket. Your arms will rest comfortably above your head.
Following your PET/CT Scan:
Once the images are complete, your Technologist will evaluate the images for quality, remove your IV, address any issues or concerns that you may have and escort you back to the reception area. The images are read by a Radiologist (doctor) and the results are dictated, transcribed and sent to your ordering physician within 3 business days. The ordering physician will provide results to you.
You should not experience unusual side effects after your PET/CT scan. If you do, please contact your doctor immediately. Since you were injected with a radioactive tracer, the tracer may remain in your body for approximately 12 hours after your procedure and continuing to emit low levels of radiation. In order to reduce the amount of radiation exposure to both you and those around you, we advise all patients who have had a PET/CT scan to take the following steps for approximately 12 hours following their procedure:
1. Avoid close physical contact with family and friends, especially infants and children since they are more sensitive to radiation exposure. Ten feet or more is sufficient.
2. Drink plenty of fluids and try to urinate as often as possible. This will help eliminate any residual 18F-FDG from your body and reduce radiation exposure.
3. When using the bathroom, make sure that you flush the toilet twice and that any spilled urine is wiped up and the tissue is flushed down the toilet immediately. Wash your hands well.
4. If you breast feed an infant or child, you should wait 24 hours after your PET/CT exam before breast feeding or expressing your breast milk for use or pump ahead of time.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding a PET/CT appointment, please contact one of our team members at 1-800-840-0866.