What is PET?

PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography. It is an imaging technique, which uses small quantities of a radioactive tracer similar to sugar (18Fluorodeoxyglucose) to produce images showing how your body is functioning.

CT stands for computer tomography. This is an xray image that is acquired along with the PET scan to help the Nuclear Medicine consultant report the PET scan.

Are there any side effects?

There is a small amount of radiation involved in the procedure (a similar amount to other Xray diagnostic procedures) but the risks associated with this are minimal.

In some circumstances our Clinicians require us to give you a tablet of valium to relax your muscles prior to the injection. If this is necessary, we will inform you before the day of the test to enable you to arrange for someone to accompany you home. We recommend that, if you are given this tablet, you do not drive for the remainder of the day.

Please Be Punctual For Your Appointment

It is imperative that you arrive on time for your appointment, as the radioactive sugar that we inject has a very short shelf life. Consequently if you are late we will not be able to proceed with your scan. If you are unable to attend or are going to be delayed, please ring us at the earliest opportunity.

Please note that we need to order this expensive tracer 48 hours prior to your test.

What you need to know about your PET Scan

Prior to the Examination

Please contact us on 01483 406701 prior to your appointment if you:

  • Are diabetic
  • Are pregnant, breastfeeding or in contact with small children
  • Have any disability or special needs requiring ramp access
  • Weigh over 100kg (16 stone)
  • Are booked for any other appointments on the same day
  • Suffer from allergies or asthma

On the day of your scan

  • Please do not have anything to eat or drink for 6 hours prior to your appointment (except water).
  • We encourage you to drink plenty of water on the day of the test (approximately 4 to 5 glasses).

Upon Arrival at the Nuclear Medicine Department

  • On arrival report to the reception at the Nuclear Medicine Department.
  • Give them your name and let them know you are there for a PET scan.
  • We will give you some water to drink.
  • Once it is time for your scan you will be taken to the mobile PET unit and asked to remove all jewellery and metallic objects and you maybe asked to change into a patient gown.
  • You will be asked to lie down on a bed.
  • The procedure will be fully explained and a brief clinical history will be taken by one of our technologists.
  • If our Clinicians require you to have a Valium tablet, it will be given to you at this stage.

Administration of the Tracer

  • We will give you an injection of radioactive sugar into a vein (usually your arm). This is similar to a blood test.
  • There are no side effects from the injection and it will not make you feel any different.
  • You will remain lying down on a couch for 45 minutes -1 hour while the injection is absorbed into your body.
  • Just prior to the examination taking place you will be taken to the Nuclear Medicine Department to use the toilet and empty your bladder.

The Scan

  • Once back on the mobile PET unit you will be ready for the scan to begin.
  • You will be taken into the scan room and asked to lie down on your back on the scanning bed.
  • The bed will move through the scanner and collect images for between 45-60 minutes, depending on the type of scan.

After the Scan

  • You will be free to change back into your clothes and leave immediately.
  • We recommend that you don’t have close contact with pregnant women or young children for 8 hours after the scan.
  • You will be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids of any type. This will help flush any excess tracer through your kidneys.
  • Your images will be analysed by our PET Clinicians and a report with films will be sent to the doctor who requested your scan.

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