PET-CT Scan Test Experience & Results
We've provided information on what you can expect before, during and after your PET-CT Scan. Be sure to read through all of the instructions and follow-up with your doctor or the PET-CT Scan location you are going to if you have questions.
- NO gum, NO mints, NO candy, NO Cough drops, NO Nicorette gum, and NO breath fresheners
- NO Coffee, NO sweet or unsweetened tea
- NO Liquid medication with sugar substitutes such as cough syrup or oral sprays with sugar substitutes.
- NO Chewing tobacco
- NO “Sugar free" Chloroseptic antiseptic spray
We will check your blood glucose level. Results over 200 mg/dL will require rescheduling your exam. If for any reason you have uncontrolled diabetes, or your blood sugar levels are typically above 200 mg/dL, please call your physician. It is very important that your blood sugars are regulated. Please follow these instructions and the instructions sent to you with your appointment information. (If you have not received instructions and are diabetic, please follow up with the location where your test will take place.)
4. Please leave any personal belongings (jewelry, unnecessary glasses, etc.) at home to avoid misplacement.
Your technologist will talk with you about the procedure. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or clarify instructions as you’re preparing for the scan.
Next, the technologist will start an IV line and obtain a small blood sample to check your blood sugar/glucose. Elevated glucose levels (over 200) will require rescheduling the scan as this can cause false results.
You will then receive an injection of a radioactive substance, called a radiotracer or tracer through the IV, along with some additional fluids for hydration. Oral Contrast and IV fluids may be site-specific, please reach out to the location of your PET-CT appointment to verify. Diabetic patients do not need to worry, the fluids do not impact blood glucose levels. The IV line will be removed once your fluids are finished.
Contrast medium can make the images from a PET-CT scan easier to interpret. You might drink the medium, or the technologist or a nurse may put it in your IV.
After the injection of the radioactive medication, you will sit quietly in a warm reclining chair for an amount of time specified by the radiologist. A staff member will escort you to the restroom to empty your bladder prior to the scan.
Before getting on the scanner, the technologist will ask you to remove ALL metal or change into a gown if needed.
You will need to stay still. Sometimes, the technologist may ask you to hold your breath. This prevents blurry pictures from the movement of your body breathing. The technologist might raise, lower, or tilt the table during the scan. This helps get pictures from different angles.
During the exam, you’ll be able to talk with the technologist, who will be in a nearby room monitoring your test through a window.
If you have any radiation concerns, please contact the department where your scan will be performed. Our technologists practice ALARA (As Low as Reasonably Achievable) through time, distance and shielding practices. As a result, we. Do not allow family members to sit with patients during their PET-CT scan.
PET-CT scans take, on average, between 15 to 45 minutes. This is the actual “scan time” you are in the machine. (Please note: This time may vary.)
As a precaution, you may be advised to avoid close contact with pregnant women, babies and young children for a few hours after having a PET-CT scan due to the radioactive material used during the procedure.