What Is the Procedure for a PET Scan?


Getting a PET scan will require you to reduce consumption of food and liquids before the procedure and receive an injection of radioactive glucose. The actual scan takes up to an hour, and the entire procedure takes about two hours.

Preparation for Scan

A PET scan or Positron Emission Tomography offers a straightforward, fast and painless method of measuring abnormal cell activity, which helps diagnose brain and heart-related disorders, as well as certain cancers. You should reduce your consumption of sugar and caffeine the day before the procedure. Do not ingest anything but water for six hours before the scan. Take your regular medications if you can tolerate them on an empty stomach.

Getting the Scan

After you arrive at the PET center, you will get an FDG or radioactive glucose injection, which lights up target areas for the scan. Your body will take about 45 minutes to assimilate the FDG. Then you empty your bladder, return to get up on the scanner bed, and lie motionless for anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes for the imaging procedure.

After the Scan

After you leave the PET center, drink fluids throughout the day to remove the FDG from your system. You should not experience any side effects from the scan. The PET center usually sends the results to your physician within 48 hours after their interpretation.

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