Prepare for PET/CT Scans
Ahead of your appointment at the imaging center, it’s a good idea to find out if there are any special steps you need to take to prepare. Some exams, such as X-rays, typically require no special preparation. On the other hand, combined PET/CT scans do have several requirements. Always defer to the instructions of the radiologist in San Antonio if they differ from the following do’s and don’ts.
Do follow the dietary restrictions.
The day before you go to the imaging center, you’ll need to follow a limited carbohydrate diet if you aren’t diabetic. This means you should limit grain-based foods like bread, pasta, and tortillas. You should also limit potatoes and other starchy vegetables. Avoid sweets entirely, including soda. If you have a morning appointment, you’ll be asked to avoid eating anything after midnight. If you have an appointment scheduled at or afternoon, you can ask the radiologist for additional guidance on dietary restrictions.
Don’t forget to share your medical information.
It’s crucial that your radiologist has your full medical history. He or she especially needs to know if you are diabetic, pregnant, possibly pregnant, or breastfeeding. If you are diabetic, you may be asked to have your blood glucose levels as close to 100 mg/dL as possible prior to the test. If your blood sugar is too high, you might have to reschedule the exam.
Do request a sedative if you think you’ll need it.
The PET/CT scan requires you to lie on your back and to remain as still as possible for the duration of the scan. If you anticipate having problems meeting this requirement, you should feel free to request an oral sedative. If you do use a sedative, you’ll need a responsible adult to accompany you. You’ll also have to refrain from driving that day.
Don’t neglect to take prescribed medications.
If you take prescription medications, you may take them with water only. You should not take over-the-counter medicines like antacids, cough syrups, or cough drops. Avoid mints, candy, and multivitamins.
Do give plenty of notice for a rescheduling.
The radioactive tracer required for a PET/CT scan must be specially made shortly before your appointment, since it has a short half-life. If you must reschedule your exam, call the imaging center as soon as possible.