PET / CT

Learn more about what to expect if you come to us for a PET/CT scan

Why have a scan with us?

Our PET/CT department provides the very latest technology combined with the expertise of highly trained and experienced medical and radiographic staff. Our centre provides patients with a modern, clean, safe and comfortable environment. We aim to provide the most cost-effective, rapid access, reliable and accurate PET/CT service to the NHS and private patients. The scans are reported by our team of experienced radiologists. As our equipment is efficient as well as effective we are able to offer the lowest prices of any PET/CT provider in the country; from just £920 per scan.

What is PET/CT?

PET/CT (Positron Emission Tomography and Computed Tomography) combines the information from a PET scan and a CT scan into one single examination. PET can provide information that helps doctors make an early diagnosis. The PET scan finds increased activity in the cells in your body and the CT provides information about the structure of your body, which will help your doctor plan appropriate treatment if needed. PET/CT is a painless and safe scanning method.

What will happen to me during my appointment?

You will receive an injection of radioactive sugar. This behaves in a similar way to ordinary sugar in the body. Radioactive sugar is very safe and has no side effects. You will need to lie and relax quietly on a bed for at least one and a half hours  after the injection. You may bring some CDs or DVDs with you to listen to or watch. It is important that you relax all your muscles because the radioactive sugar is travelling around your system. You will then have the scan. You will need to lie on your back with your arms placed above your head. If you think you will have problems doing this, please tell the radiographer when you arrive.

The scan will then take 20 to 30 minutes.

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 are diabetic:

        -insulin dependent - carry on as normal with breakfast and insulin 

        -tablet controlled - follow fasting instructions and do not take diabetic medicationdiet controlled - follow fasting instructions      

         -diet controlled - follow fasting intsructions                                 

  • 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.
  • You should not eat for six hours prior to your appointment time, though you should drink plenty of plain water, but please avoid water which is flavoured or diluted with cordial.
  • For brain scans patients only need to fast for 3 hours prior to your appointment time and keep hydrated.
  • Please avoid any strenuous exercise 24hrs prior to your appointment (muscles use glucose to replace glycogen stores).
  • Please continue to take your usual medication on the day of the scan including pain killers (unless you need to take food with them). Bring your medication with you should it coincide with your scan time.
  • No caffeine 12 hours prior to your appointment.

Can I bring someone with me?

If you would like, a friend or relative to come with you, they may wait in the waiting room. However, we have very limited space so we do ask that you bring just one person. Please do not bring small children to the department.

How long will I be in the department?

Depending on the type of scan you are having you will need to allow at least two and a half hours for the appointment. This includes preparation and scanning time.

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.
  • You have problems with cannulation

What happens after my scan?

You can go home and you will be able to eat and drink as soon as the procedure is finished. Please bring something with you to eat as we can only provide light snacks. It will take up to five working days to send the results to your doctor.

If you have an appointment with your doctor sooner, please tell us at the time of your appointment.

Contact details

Cobalt Imaging Centre

Thirlestaine Road

Cheltenham

GL53 7AS

Tel - 01242 535900  Fax - 01242 535919

South West Area NHS PET/CT

Information about PET/CT scanning can be accessed from all of the PET/CT web pages on our website, however, if your NHS doctor has arranged for you to have a PET/CT scan, then you may find this page especially helpful as we have tried to bring together in one place all of the information you may require before attending for an examination with us. The PET/CT scan you have been referred for combines the functional information from a positron emission tomography (PET) exam with the anatomical information from a computed tomography (CT) exam into one single exam. CT is an imaging technique used to visualize both the soft tissue and bone inside your body.

A PET exam detects change in cellular function, how your cells utilise nutrients like sugar and oxygen. Since functional changes take place before physical changes occur, PET can provide information that will enable doctors to make an early diagnosis. In order to achieve the highest diagnostic results please read the following information and guidance.

If there anything I need to tell you before my scan?

Yes you need to confirm your appointment. Please call 0800 138 7202 for all PET/CT enquiries, bookings or confirmation of a booking. It is very important that you confirm your appointment, so that we can give the time to another patient if you are unable to make it. It is important that you get here on time as scans generally cannot be delayed.

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

  • Recent Chemotherapy - within the last 4 weeks
  • Radiotherapy - within 3 - 6 months
  • Surgery - within 3 - 6 months
  • You are pregnant or think that you might be pregnant
  • You are breastfeeding
  • You are a diabetic
  • You have had problems with injections in the past
  • You suffer from claustrophobia
  • Please do not bring pregnant relatives with you for your appointment.
  • If you have had previous CT/MRI scans and found it difficult in any way please let us know before your appointment.

Preparation for my scan

  • You should not eat for six hours prior to your appointment time, though you should drink plenty of plain water, but please avoid water which is flavoured or diluted with cordial.
  • For brain scans patients only need to fast for 3 hours prior to your appointment time.
  • Please avoid any strenuous exercise 24hrs prior to your appointment (muscles use glucose to replace glycogen stores)
  • Please continue to take your usual medication on the day of the scan including pain killers (unless you need to take food with them). Bring your medication with you should it coincide with your scan time.
  • No caffeine 12 hours prior to your appointment.

What will happen during my appointment?

After you have been greeted at reception, a radiographer will explain the procedure. Please feel free to ask any questions regarding the PET/CT scan at this point. A radiographer will then take a short medical history from you to assist the doctor who reads the scan. The radiographer will then inject a small amount of 18FDG (low-dose radioactive form of glucose) into a vein in your arm. You will then rest for at least 1 hour prior to your scan.

You will then be asked to visit the toilet and change into a gown or other metal free piece of clothing and then be taken through for your scan, which will last approximately 30 minutes. You will then be free to leave the PET/CT unit.

How much radiation will I receive during the scan?

Equivalent to a period of a few years natural background radiation.

What do I do after the scan?

You will be able to eat and drink as soon as the procedure is finished and then go home.

How do I get my results?

The scan is usually reviewed within 48 hours and the result will be sent to the doctor who referred you for the PET/CT scan within 4-5 working days. If you have an appointment with your doctor sooner please inform us at the time of your appointment.

Patient satisfaction

Cobalt provides a patient focussed service, being the first in the UK to be accredited in accordance with the Imaging Services Accreditation Scheme (ISAS). This accreditation is the formal recognition that an imaging services provider has demonstrated that it has the organisational competence to deliver against key performance measures.

ISAS is a scheme based on the principal of independent assessment against a recognised standard, very much based around the patient experience. The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) has been selected to deliver and manage ISAS on behalf of The College of Radiographers and The Royal College of Radiologists.

Accredited to ISO9001: 2008 for the quality of service that we give to our patients we have demonstrated our ability to consistently deliver high quality clinical imaging at low cost. Patients are key to understanding exactly how well we achieve our objectives and maintain our high standards. We perform regular patient questionnaires on a monthly basis and we measure the individual responses to ensure high standards. We learn from these responses and work hard to continually improve our facilities and staff and our service to our patients.

Patient Information

Download our Patient Information leaflet to find out more about PET/CT scan services with Cobalt

FAQ

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