PET Scanning

Hours: Tuesdays, 6:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

A PET (positron emission tomography) scan is a type of nuclear medicine that creates an image of your body's metabolic activity and shows the rate at which your body's cells break down and use sugar (glucose). This is done by injecting a small amount of radioactive material (radiotracer) into your blood stream and waiting for it to disperse to the area of focus.  Radioactive emissions from the radiotracer are detected by a special camera or imaging device that produces pictures and detailed molecular information.

Preparing for your Exam-Before, During, After

Before Your PET Scan

  • You will receive specific instructions based on the type of PET scan taking place. Diabetic patients will receive special instructions to prepare for this exam.
  • Metal objects including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures and hairpins may affect the CT images and should be left at home or removed prior to your exam. You may also be asked to remove hearing aids and removable dental work.

During Your Pet Scan

  • You will be asked to lie down on the examination table.  A technician will insert an intravenous (IV) into your arm or hand.  The radiotracer is then injected into the IV.  The radiotracer will travel through your body to the appropriate area undergoing the exam. 
  • It is important that you remain still while the images are being recorded. Though nuclear imaging itself causes no pain, there may be some discomfort from having to remain still or to stay in one particular position during imaging.
  • Exams vary in length of time.  Depending on your specific procedure, exams may take 30 minutes to several hours and may be conducted over a few days.  Specific information will be provided depending on your exam type.

After Your PET Scan

  • A doctor from nuclear medicine or radiologist will review the results and discuss them with your doctor. Your doctor will explain the results to you.

Safety Information

Nuclear medicine procedures are among the safest imaging exams.  Because the amount of radiotracer given to a patient is small, over exposure to radiation is very low.  The amount of radiation received from a nuclear medicine procedure is comparable to, and often times less than that of a routine x-ray.  Our technicians are careful to tailor each dose to each patient using as little radiation as possible, without compromising image results.  The radiotracer will lose its radioactivity usually within 24 hours, and pass through the body naturally.