How should I prepare for PET CT Scan procedure?
Women should always inform if they are pregnant or are breast feeding. In case you are breast feeding, it may help you pump breast milk ahead of time and keep it on hand for use once the test is complete. It will help you until the contrast is no longer in your body.
Inform your radiologist if you are taking any medications including vitamins and herbal supplements. Also inform about any kind of illness or allergies you might have.
The doctor/ physician/ radiologist will give special instructions depending on your illness.
Any metal dentures, hairpins, jewelry, eyeglasses etc. may affect the CT images. Remove all the metal objects prior to your test. You may also have to remove removable dental work and hearing aids.
The physician/ radiologist may ask you to fast for several hours prior to your test. Because eating may alter the distribution of PET tracer in your body. This may require performing the scan on another day. So you must follow the instructions about eating. Do not drink any liquid containing sugar or calories for hours before the scan. Instead, you can drink a lot of water.
PET CT Scan
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What is the procedure of the scan?
During the test:
- When you arrive at the centre, you may have to change into the hospital gown.
- Depending upon the type of nuclear medicine exam you are undergoing, the dose of radiotracer is injected intravenously, swallowed or inhaled as a gas.
- Technologist or nurse will then put an intravenous line (IV). Then they will put the radioactive substance in the IV. It then injects into the veins.
- The substance takes 30-90 minutes to reach the tissues. You need to lie quietly and without moving.
- You will move into the PET CT Scanner and the imaging will begin.
- If your PET CT is for radiation treatment planning, you might wear a mask or cast during the scan. Thus, keeps your body in the same position as for the treatment.
- Total scanning time is approximately 30 min.
- However, depending on which organ to scan, it may require special tests. Thus, may require other tests and drugs. Therefore lengthening the procedure time.
- When your exam is complete, the radiologist may ask you to wait. The radiologist checks the images in case any additional image is required.
Except for the intravenous injections, most nuclear tests are painless and do not cause any discomfort or side effects.
You will feel slight prick of the injection which injects the radiotracer. When the radiotracer moves in your veins, you may feel a cold sensation. However, this does not cause any side effects.
When you swallow a radiotracer, it has little or no taste.
If you are claustrophobic, you may feel some anxiety during the scan.
After the test:
You can resume your normal activities after the scan.
Through the natural process of radioactive decay, a small amount of radiotracer in your body will lose its radioactivity over time.
It will pass out of your body through your urine or stool during the first few hours or days following the test. You need to drink plenty of water to help flush the radioactive material.
What Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor?
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What questions you should ask your doctor before the test?
- Who will do the PET CT scan?
- What will happen during the scan?
- How long will it take?
- What can I drink and eat before the test? What should I avoid?
- Will I need to avoid any activities after the scan?
- When will I get the test results?
- Who will explain the results to me?
- Will I need other test?
- When should I arrive for the test