Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


How Long Will the Test Take?

The scan will take approximately 2-3 hours.


When will I get the results?

Following the exam, a Nuclear Medicine physician will review and evaluate your images. These results will be made available to the ordering physician, who will then explain the results to you. The results should be available to you within 24 to 48 hours after the exam.


What should I wear to the appointment?

You will be laying for the better portion of the test so you want to wear comfortable clothing. You will be asked to remove any metal from the clothing you are wearing.  Often you will be asked to put on a pair of hospital pants and a hospital gown.  If you seem to be cold most of the time, it is suggested that you bring a sweatshirt or sweater (without any metal on) with you.


Will I need someone to drive me to and from the PET/CT scan appointment?

There are no side effects from the PET scan, so you will be able to drive yourself to and from the appointment.


What will I experience during the exam?

After lying for 15 minutes, a small injection of a radioactive glucose(sugar), will be injected into an IV that had been started into a hand or arm. After lying quietly for another hour, you will be taken to the PET/CT scanner and images will take 20-40 minutes.


Is a PET/CT scan painless?

Yes, other than starting the IV, there is no pain involved in a PET/CT scan.


What do I need to do to prepare for the exam?

We would like your blood sugar less than 200 mg/dl. If you are not a diabetic, you will be asked to fast for 8 hours prior to your appointment. If you are a diabetic, you will be asked to fast for only 4 hours prior to your appointment. Instructions will be given to what foods you can have with your insulin.  You will also be asked not to do any form of strenuous activity for 24 hours prior to the appointment time.



Is PET/CT Safe?

The risks associated with a PET/CT scan are very minimal. The injection is made up of radioactive glucose (sugar). The radiation exposure associated with a PET/CT scan is approximately the same as a CT scan.


How does a PET scan differ from CT or MRI scans?

CT and MRI scans look at the size and shape of organs and body structures. A PET scan looks at the metabolic activity of the body. The information received from a PET scan is different from any other test that is available.


When can a PET/CT scan be scheduled?

PET is offered at Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital Monday through Friday.

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