PET/CT scan is a combination of 2 imaging techniques in one exam. When we look at tissue and organs on a cellular level (PET) and from a bird's-eye view of your body's structure (CT), it gives us a full picture of your health.
Putting your health into perspective
When PET and CT scans join forces, you can rest assured that your health is being covered from all angles.
Positron emission tomography (PET) uses a small, safe amount of radiation to examine whether certain cells are healthy or show abnormalities. Computer-assisted tomography (CT) combines a series of X-rays into a detailed image of a specific body part.
Together, they help us diagnose serious conditions like cancer and create a treatment plan that's suited to your specific needs.
We may order a PET/CT scan if you’re living with or we suspect you have any of the following conditions:
From the moment we order your PET/CT scan to the day we deliver results, we've got you covered on how to prepare and what to expect.
- Don't eat or drink anything except for water for about 4 hours before the exam — not even chewing gum or cough drops.
- You cannot wear any type of metal during your scan, so leave all jewelry, metal zippers or any clothing with wiring at home.
- The scan room feels a bit chilly, so try to dress warm and comfortable — think clothing with an elastic waistband like sweatpants.
If you have certain conditions like diabetes or are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy, we'll have specific instructions for you.
A PET/CT scan takes 2–3 hours to complete. Here’s what to expect on the day of your exam.
Part 1: Preparation
You'll receive a small injection of a radioactive tracer called FDG. Is not a dye and will not make you feel different or cause any reactions.
It takes about 90 minutes for FDG to circulate through your body, so in the meantime, you can read, listen to music or watch videos on your phone or tablet — whatever helps you relax.
Part 2: Imaging
A technologist will position you on a cushioned scan table, similar to a regular CT scan.
The scan itself will take 20–30 minutes. You can pass the time by listening to music or a podcast.
The technologist will be there to answer questions or talk you through any concerns.
You can go about your normal day-to-day activities after the exam is complete. To help the FDG tracer pass through your body, drink plenty of fluids.
Your care team will review the imagery from your PET/CT scan and send the findings and a personalized treatment plan to you and your doctor.