What to Expect

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Your First Appointment

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PET scans provide a complete image that makes it easier for your doctor to diagnose problems, determine the extent of disease, prescribe treatment, and track progress.

Before Your PET Scan

  • Keep regularity with bowel movements as it is optimal to avoid constipation before you come in for your appointment.
  • Do not eat anything 4 hours prior to your exam.
  • Medications you usually take should be taken with water.
  • Bring a book or magazine for the 1½ hours after your PET tracer injection when you will be relaxing.
  • Diabetic patients - If you are diabetic and take insulin, the morning of your scan, take half your routine dose of regular insulin and eat as needed to keep your blood sugar level comfortable. If your appointment is scheduled in the afternoon, take your full dose of insulin or medication with a light breakfast at least 4 hours before your appointment.
  • Additional instructions, if required, will be explained to you by your doctor.

During Your PET Scan

Total time for the entire PET/CT scan process is about 3 hours.

  • The technologist will review your health history and any prior exams.
  • You will receive a small amount of Fluoro-Deoxy-Glucose (FDG). An FDA-approved substance administered through an IV (intravenously). The substance is called a sugar product with an attached radioactive isotope that is harmless to the body. This substance travels to cells throughout the entire body. Since most cancer cells utilize more sugars for metabolism, a cancerous tumor will absorb and retain the FDG sugar substance more than normal tissue.
    FDG has no side effects and is eliminated from your body primarily through urine.
  • After receiving the FDG, you will need to remain inactive for 1½ hours. You will be asked to stay in the waiting area during that time, so bring a good book or your favorite magazine and relax.
  • The scan takes place during the last hour. During the scan, you will lie flat on a comfortable table, which moves slowly through the PET scanner. The scanner is similar in shape to a doughnut, which means the patient is not enclosed in the scanner at any time. You will need to remain still during the scan.

After Your PET Scan

A specially trained radiologist will interrupt your PET Scan. The PET/CT highlights the areas of the body that have absorbed FDG to determine:

  • Identify active tumors.
  • See if therapy has been effective.
  • Detect cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

For more information about your PET Scan or to make an appointment, call 215-214-4210.