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Positron Emission Tomography / Computed Tomography (PET/CT)


Positron Emission Tomography / Computed Tomography (PET/CT) is a type of Oncologic Molecular Imaging and Nuclear Medicine.  PET uses small amounts of radioactive glucose (sugar), a special camera with a computed tomography (CT) scanner and a computer to investigate the presence of known or suspected cancer.

During the Exam

The PET/CT is a large machine that resembles a giant donut standing upright, similar to a Computed Tomography (CT) machine. 

You will be asked to change into a gown and empty your bladder.  A technologist will then administer a radioactive drug referred to as a tracer. You will receive the drug by injection. When the drug is injected, you may briefly feel a cold sensation moving up your arm. You will need to wait 60 minutes in one of our private rooms for the tracer to be absorbed into your body.

After the tracer is absorbed, you will be asked to lie down on a narrow, padded table that slides into the PET/CT machine (inside the hole of the donut).  You will be asked to lie motionless for about 20 minutes.  The machine may make buzzing or clicking sounds.

Once you are positioned correctly, the technologist will leave the room to operate the PET/CT machine from a workstation in a control room.  During the PET/CT exam, you can communicate with the technologist at any time using an intercom.  The technologist monitors you and the progress of the image during the study.

Preparation

When booking your appointment, tell us if you:

  • Have ever had a bad allergic reaction
  • Have been sick recently or you have another medical condition such as diabetes
  • Are taking any medications, vitamins or herbal supplements
  • Are pregnant or you think you might be pregnant
  • Are breast-feeding
  • Are afraid of enclosed spaces (claustrophobic)

You will be given detailed instructions on how to prepare for your scan when you call to schedule.