PET/CT FAQs

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We understand that you might have lots of questions about what to expect when you come for a scan, how to find us or what happens next after your appointment. Please take a look here at the questions we are often asked. If you still have questions, we are happy to help please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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Before my scan

  • How do I prepare for my scan?

    The accuracy of the PET/CT scan depends on your body's metabolic activity. You can control this using the instructions below. It is extremely important that you follow these instructions.

    • Try to keep hydrated with water unless you are on fluid restrictions.
    • Do not eat or drink anything (except water) for at least six hours before your
      scan. This includes chewing gum, mints, cough drops and Nicorette gum.
    • If you have a feeding tube, do not have anything (except water) through it for six
      hours before your appointment.
    • If you have to take any medications with food, ask your doctor whether you should skip your morning dose, take it later in the day, or take it without food for your scan.
    • Please arrive on time as the tracer you will be given is ordered specifically for you and only works for a short time.
    • Do not do anything strenuous (for example, aerobics or jogging) for at least
      24 hours before the scan.
    • If you are extremely claustrophobic or tend to be extremely nervous and fidgety,
      talk to your doctor about whether you could take a tranquiliser before coming for
      your PET/CT scan. Take this before you arrive for your scan.
    • Wear comfortable clothing, and if possible avoid clothing with metal snaps, buttons and zips.
  • Do I need to confirm my appointment?

    Yes, it is very important that you confirm your appointment as we need to order the radioactive sugar to be delivered specially. If you have not confirmed your appointment slot, we may give it to someone else. It is also important that you are here on time as we cannot delay scans.

    Please inform us when you ring to confirm your appointment if any of the following applies to you:

    • You have had chemotherapy in the last four weeks.
    • You have had radiotherapy in the last three to six months.
    • You have had surgery in the last three to sixth months.
    • You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
    • You found previous CT or MRI scans difficult to tolerate.
    • You have diabetes.

During my scan

  • How long will I be radioactive for?

    6 hours.

  • How long do I have to stay away from my children?

    As long as possible but around 6 hours after your scan, you can cuddle them etc.

  • How long do I have to stop breastfeeding for?

    Breast feeding can resume 24 hours after the scan.

  • I'm a diabetic, can I still be scanned?

    Please inform us at the time of booking your scan if you are a diabetic so we can make sure we make the necessary preparations prior to your scan on the day. We will advise you what and when to eat and what medications you should bring in with you. The amount of radioactive glucose you will be given is not enough to affect your diabetes.

  • What's the difference between CT and MRI?

    CT is computerised tomography and is used to provide a picture of the structure inside your body. A special type of X-ray machine is used to produce cross sectional images of your body. This involves being exposed to a small amount of radiation. The dose is equivalent to the amount of natural radiation you would receive over a period of three years.

    MRI uses a powerful magnet providing high quality images. Surfaces, cartilage, ligaments and muscles can be seen in greater detail.

  • Can I wear my own clothes?

    Usually it is possible to wear your own clothes, if we need you to wear a special gown we will provide this for you.

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