Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Imaging

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) detects changes in cellular function – how your cells are utilizing nutrients like sugar and oxygen. This examination can provide information that enables your physician to make an earlier diagnosis of several conditions.

These capabilities can translate into faster initiation of the best possible treatment while avoiding more invasive exams or exploratory surgery.

PET can assist in the diagnosis of single pulmonary nodule (SPN), non-small cell lung cancer, colorectal cancer, melanoma, lymphoma, head and neck cancers, esophageal cancer, breast cancer, non-oncology applications, refractory seizures.

For most studies, you’ll have to wait for the radiopharmaceutical to distribute itself – typically 30 minutes to an hour.

You’ll be asked to lie very still. The scan can last anywhere from 15-60 minutes.

You’ll be able to eat and drink immediately – drinking lots of fluids will help remove any of the radiopharmaceutical that may still be in your system.

Preparation for a PET exam

  • Do not eat or drink anything other than water for 4-6 hours before your exam because it could interfere with the results. Don’t even chew gum.
  • If you take medication, drink only enough plain water to swallow them.
  • If you’ve been advised not to take your medications on an empty stomach, eat nothing more than a couple of soda crackers within 4-6 hours of your exam.
  • Avoid unnecessary physical activity on the day of the exam.
  • Wear warm, comfortable clothing without metal buttons and please leave your jewelry at home.
  • If you will be taking any medications for anxiety or claustrophobia please bring someone with you to drive home.
  • If you have questions, please call as early as possible.
  • If you must cancel, please do so at least 24 hours prior to your scheduled appointment.

Preparation for a PET exam (Diabetic Patients)

  • Do not eat anything 6 hours prior to the exam.
  • If you begin to feel sick and attribute this to a drop in blood sugar, eat a few saltine crackers and elevate your legs.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • DO NOT take your a.m. Insulin or oral diabetic agents until after the PET exam.
  • The day before your PET exam, eat a normal dinner and have a bedtime snack.