Preparing for a PET/CT scan

Prior to a PET scan, a small amount of a radioactive tracer will be given to you intravenously. This tracer can be absorbed by cells in the body and show areas of faster energy usage. It may take 30 to 60 minutes until the tracer can be absorbed and your scan can begin.

Before your exam, your physician may ask that you not eat for a few hours before the procedure. You may also be asked to change into a hospital gown and remove any metal jewelry.

Inform your technologist

Be sure to let your physician and your technologist know if you may be pregnant or are breastfeeding. The radiation used in a PET scan and the accompanying CT scan may be harmful to a developing fetus. The radioactive tracer will also pass through breast milk after your scan. You may need to use formula or pre-pumped breast milk for one or two days.

You should also inform your technologist if you:

  • Have any allergies
  • Have diabetes
  • Are taking any medications
  • Have claustrophobia

Following the exam, be sure to drink plenty of water to help flush the radioactive material from your body.