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What to Expect - PET

The Chest Clinic

What to Expect - PET

Positron emission tomography (PET) produces images of how the body functions and measures metabolic activity. Computed tomography (CT) provides cross-sectional images of the body. PET/CT combines these two non invasive procedures into one exam. For our patients, this advanced technique reduces scan time and increases accuracy and comfort, while providing physicians with exceptional views of the whole body and its functions.

Preparing for your PET/CT

  • Please arrive on time for the exam.
  • Please remember to bring your insurance card, your referral form, a current list of medications, previous X-rays and any CT and MRI films/CDs.
  • Please wear comfortable clothing and leave all valuable items at home. Avoid underwire bras, girdles, metal snaps and pins.
  • Please do not eat four hours prior to your procedure, but do drink plenty of water.
  • Please do not exercise or engage in strenuous activity the day before and the day of your exam.
  • If you are diabetic, you will be given instructions by your doctor regarding your medications for the day of your PET/CT scan.
  • All other medications should be taken as prescribed.

What to Expect

  • Prior to your exam, a small amount of radioactive glucose "tracer" will be given to you through injection.
  • You will be asked to rest for 45 minutes while the tracer travels through your body and settles in the organs that need to be examined.
  • During the exam, you will lie on the scanner table. The table will move in small increments during the scan, allowing images to be taken of multiple areas of the body. As the tracer emits signals, the PET/CT scanner detects and records them, then converts them into pictures using our advanced computer technology.
  • You can expect the scanning procedure to take less than an hour.
  • Your PET/CT technologist will be present in a nearby room through the entire process and will remain in constant communication with you. Please pay close attention to his/her instructions and try not to make any unnecessary movement during the procedure.

After your PET/CT

When your procedure is finished, you should feel no side effects from the radioactive glucose tracer. You can resume your normal activities and diet, but you should drink plenty of fluids for a few hours after the exam. Drinking fluids will help you to flush the tracer out of your body. Here's what happens next:

  • The radioactive material will remain in your body for approximately 12 hours after your scan.  Instructions will be provided to reduce and limit the amount of radiation exposure to you and those around you.
  • The PET radiology report will be sent to your doctor. Your doctor will talk with you about your PET/CT results and next steps.

Contact Us

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

789 Central Avenue

Dover, New Hampshire 03820

Phone: (603) 742-5252

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