Positron emission tomography (PET) scans are sophisticated medical exams
that allow radiologists to capture detailed information about the function
of the organs and tissues. If you’re expecting an upcoming visit
to an imaging center in San Antonio for a
PET scan, it’s a good idea to learn a little bit about what you can expect.
Additionally, you should call the imaging center ahead of time to find
out how you should prepare for your appointment.
You may be asked to avoid strenuous exercise for a couple of days and to
avoid eating for a few hours prior to your appointment at the imaging
center. You should inform the radiologist about your underlying medical
conditions, such as diabetes, prior allergic reactions, recent hospitalizations
or illnesses, or claustrophobia. Let the radiology professional know if
you’re pregnant, could be pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
Upon your arrival, you’ll be asked to change into a hospital gown.
You’ll receive an injection of a radioactive drug or radiopharmaceutical.
Most often, PET scans involve the use of FDG. This is a form of glucose
or sugar that is radioactive. The amount of glucose that is used is not
sufficient to cause any sort of problems for diabetic patients. The slight
pinprick you’ll feel when the injection is administered is the only
discomfort that occurs during a PET scan.
After receiving the injection, you’ll be asked to rest for a period
of time. This gives the glucose some time to work its way through your
body. Then, you’ll be positioned on a padded, moveable exam table.
This table slides into the PET scanner. You’ll be asked to remain
as still as possible during the test, which typically takes about 30 minutes.
Some patients undergo a CT scan combined with a PET scan.
You can return to your usual activities after you leave the imaging center.
The radiopharmaceutical is eliminated from your body relatively quickly,
but you’ll be asked to drink plenty of water to help flush it out.