What to Expect During Your PET Scan

Doctor Looking at Monitor

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. PET - scan


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.

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