Preparing for Your PET/CT Scan

Short placeholder heading

New Patient Appointments

For adults: 877-442-3324
For children: 888-733-4662


Before Your PET/CT Scan

  • It is important that you be as comfortable and relaxed as possible prior to and during the PET or PET/CT scan. You can take medications such as Valium, Ativan, or pain medications to lessen any anxiety or discomfort you may have. Please talk with your physician if you are taking medication for relaxation or need information. (NOTE: If you will be taking any of the above medications before your scan, plan to have someone drive you home).
  • Do not wear clothing with snaps, zippers, buckles, or any other large pieces of metal. Do not wear any jewelry. You will be asked to remove any items that could potentially interfere with the scanning procedure (you will be able to wear a hospital gown).
  • In most circumstances, reading material, music, and relaxation tapes are allowed in the procedure rooms.
  • Do not eat or drink for six hours before your test (except plain water with nothing added). Also, do not suck or chew candy, gum, or lozenges.
  • You may take those medications prescribed by your physician prior to your scan.
  • If you have diabetes: Insulin or oral agents used to control your diabetes SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN WITHIN FOUR HOURS of your PET or PET/CT scan. The Nuclear Medicine Department may adjust your eating restrictions if your diabetes is diet-controlled.
  • Limit intense physical activity 24 hours prior to your exam. This includes running, heavy lifting, sports, yoga, and deep massages.
  • If you are, or think you may be pregnant, discuss this with you physician. Generally, a PET or PET/CT scan is not performed on pregnant women. If you are breastfeeding, you will be instructed not to breast feed for 24 hours after the injection for the PET or PET/CT scan. Nursing mothers are encouraged to pump and store milk in anticipation of exposure to the radioactive tracer.

During Your PET/CT Scan

  • After registering with our facilitator, a technologist will meet you and take you to one of our private procedure rooms.
  • The technologist will perform a quick assessment, explain the PET or PET/CT scan, take your height and weight, and address any questions you may have about the exam.
  • The technologist will place a small intravenous needle in one of your veins. A very small amount of blood will be taken to test your blood sugar, followed immediately by the injection of glucose with a radioactive tracer.
  • The injection of the radioactive tracer is free from any side effects and is painless.
  • You will then be asked to rest quietly in a reclined position for 60 minutes before the scan. At the end of that time, you will be asked to urinate prior to imaging.
  • PET and PET/CT scans last 45-90 minutes (depending on imaging needs).