1. Patients must not eat or drink anything for four hours prior to the exam.
  2. Exclude foods high in sugar and carbohydrates from your diet the day before and the day of the scan.
  3. Take all medication except fluid pills.
  4. Bring a list of current medications.
  5. Avoid wearing metal jewelry, metal zippers, or metal buttons.
  6. Do not bring children or pregnant women to the appointment.
  7. Take all oral diabetic medication as prescribed prior to the scan.
  8. Do not take insulin four hours prior to exam.
  9. Avoid physical therapy, physical activity, and anything strenuous prior to the exam.
  10. Cardiac patients will receive a separate prep specialized to their specific exams.

Radiation exposure/risk

The amount of the radionuclide injected into the patient for the procedure is very small, and there is no need for precautions against radiation exposure. Allergic reactions to the radionuclide are rare, but may happen. Tell your healthcare provider if you are allergic or sensitive to medicines, contrast dyes, iodine, or latex.

What to expect:

Before the PET/CT exam, a blood glucose check is performed, and a radioactive tracer is injected through an IV. After the injection, the patient will rest comfortably for a circulation period. At this time, the patient will drink flavored gelatin water to coat the stomach and bowel for the CT portion of the scan. The patient will be asked to empty his or her bladder prior to the scan. The entire body (skull base to thigh) is typically scanned to obtain comprehensive evaluation of metabolic activity. A CT scan and a PET scan are performed. During the CT portion of the exam, the patient will receive a contrast dye injected through an IV. Typically there are no breathing instructions for the patient. The patient will lie on his or her back with a cushion under the knees and a cushion under the head; the arms will be above the head for the scan. The scan process takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

After the exam:

The patient can return to regular activity and diet after the exam. The patient will be instructed to drink plenty of fluids for 24-48 hours after the exam. This will help flush the radioactive material and the contrast dye from the body. The PET/CT scan is interpreted by a highly trained radiologist. Results are reported to the referring physician electronically.